With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say on that day:
Give thanks to the Lord,
call on his name;
make known his deeds among the nations;
proclaim that his name is exalted. (Isaiah 12:3-4)
Joy is an inside job. It is not the rush of emotional energy released in moments of victory or success. Nor is it the happiness that sweeps through us when good fortune surprises. Joy is not dependent upon outward circumstances. It is deeper, rooted in the soul.
It rises when the heart is warmed and filled by the presence of love … of God … living within us. This love is always there. It is our truest self. We are made in the image of an immeasurable love.
But most days we live far from this awareness, which is why prayer needs to be a daily, hourly, moment-to-moment experience.
It is also why Christmas is central to our faith and spiritual lives. At Christmas, we meet the transcendent God, the Infinite Love who always was and will be, coming to us in infant form, so that we may see and know the love God is.
Seeing him, we know: God is pleased to come to us, not to inspire fear but to awaken the love within us that is our true nature. We, created in the image of Love, commune heart-to-heart with the Love who made us … and become the Love God is.
In this communion, whether silent … or speaking friend-to-friend, we are filled with the simple joy of being. God fills us, as water fills a glass to overflowing, washing away all cynicism and fear, boredom and bitterness, all greed and guilt.
All that remains is the gentle joy of being alive and knowing the Love who is and was and is to come, the love shining in the face of Christ … and in us.
Pr. David L. Miller