No.52. Thanksgiving and Joy.

Colours of the Rainbow > Thanksgiving > No.52. Thanksgiving and Joy.

Joy is such a significant part of our faith. It is a huge part of who God is and of the atmosphere of heaven. God created us and Jesus redeemed us, to bring Him joy. Our faith is one that has joy at its heart, because joy is an essential part of who God is, and yet it is such an elusive thing sometimes, both to define and experience. The Oxford dictionary defines joy as ‘a vivid emotion of pleasure’.

In the Old Testament, the Children of Israel experienced significant times of joy when they saw  great deliverances from their enemies, as in Isaiah’s prophecy 35:1-10, ‘The ransomed of the Lord will return, they will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away’.

We also know that there was great joy and celebration, initiated by heaven, when Jesus was born and the plan of salvation, held for so long in Gods’ heart, began to unfold on the earth. The angels spoke of ‘good news of great joy’ Luke 2:10. All of heaven was celebrating then, as they do now whenever someone turns to the Lord and Jesus’ sacrifice yields more fruit in another life saved, Luke 15:7

We know that joy is something Jesus wanted us to have when He said ‘as the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. If you obey my commandments you will remain in My love……. I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete’ John 15:11. Paul also writes of joy as an essential part of our life in Christ when he wrote ‘The Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit’ Romans 14:17

It’s not that God ignores our sorrows or our pain. Jesus was ‘a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering’ Isaiah 53:3, but He was also ‘anointed with the oil of joy above His companions’ Hebrews 1:9. In fact one of the things that Jesus came to do was to ‘comfort those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified’ Isaiah 61:3

So today I believe the Lord is calling us to a time of joy and celebration. We may not have a wedding or a birthday to celebrate. It’s not a time of festival like Christmas, but celebration and joy can be ours every day, if we can learn how to ‘rejoice in the Lord’ in all our circumstances. So how do we celebrate and experience joy when we are in ‘Lockdown’, when we are experiencing weariness, grief and loss, anxiety or may be loneliness or just  boredom.

We said earlier that joy can be an elusive emotion to look for, but it is one of the fruits of the Spirit, something the Holy Spirit will produce in us if we allow Him to keep filling us. We can ask the Holy Spirit, our helper and friend, to lead us into joy by showing us more of the wonders of our salvation, by making us aware of the Lords loving help and protection and care for us over this past year, and we can ask Him to highlight to us all the good things, big and small, in our lives that we are taking for granted.

As we thank Him for these things we will start on the journey of rejoicing in the Lord, and that will lead us in to being ‘filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy’ 1 Peter 1:8 (Written to Christians experiencing great trials). David, also at a time of great testing says to the Lord ‘You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand’ Psalm 16:11.

So now, as you bless and thank the Lord, for everything the Holy Spirit brings to mind, ‘may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust Him, so that you overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit’ Romans 15:13.


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