I am a joy chaser. It started a few years ago. I chose 'Joy' as my word for my year. It seemed to be the missing element from my otherwise blessed life. I love to surround myself with joyful people, yet time with those happy, spirited souls often leave me feeling as though I am missing some special spark.
So joy it was. I bought a pillow that had “Joy” spelled in an elaborate fashion. I read some research articles on the topic, because that is just what I do. I stumbled across a book on joy I had started but failed to get into, and I restarted that book. And in it I found the secret—thankfulness. Ann Voskamp wrote that joy is the ‘you're welcome’ to the ‘thank you’ we give to God. (source)
My quest for joy transformed into a journey towards a more thankful heart. If we are thankful, truly thankful for what we have, joy will naturally follow. Happiness is a choice, but joy is a by-product of a heart full of thanks.
This time of year it can be easy to slide into a little bit of a slump emotionally. Some of us are surrounded by wrapping paper and the bills that go with gift giving. Some of us are spending an exorbitant amount of time with loved ones that make us crazy. Some of us are longing for a different type of holiday.
Whatever your situation may be, recognize that the joy you seek doesn’t come from the gifts under the tree or the people who gave them. The joy you seek comes from a relationship with Our Lord, Jesus Christ. When we can orient our thankful hearts toward His, He will fill our hearts with joy.
And in the depths of despair, when joy seems so far, He can give us peace until the joyful times come.
Enjoy this brief article on the "most joyful" Saint.
Dr. MaryRuth Hackett is the host of the podcast Parenting Smarts. She loves historical fiction, dark chocolate, watching her children play soccer, a good cup of coffee (decaf please) and the quiet of the early morning. She holds a PhD in Educational Psychology and has a passion for helping parents understand the way their children grow and develop. She is a contributing author to our children's devotional prayer book called Rise Up. You can find out more about her here.