Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.Henri J.M. Nouwen
In the Advent tradition, this past Sunday was known as Gaudete Sunday or the ‘Sunday of Joy’. And we were encouraged to step back and reconnect with the purpose and the joy of the season. But to be honest, sometimes I feel guilty for feeling joy. Like living a joy-filled life is almost selfish in a world with so much pain and suffering.
One of the things that I am learning though, is that joy is not the same as happiness. Henri Nouwen writes,
We can be unhappy about many things, but joy can still be there because it comes from the knowledge of God’s love for us. We are inclined to think that when we are sad we cannot be glad, but in the life of a God-centered person, sorrow and joy can exist together.
Living with joy is a choice, and the truth is that some days are harder than others for me. But what helps me in my journey to live a joy-filled life, is the knowledge that this joy is not meant for me alone. Joy is meant to be shared. And sharing our joy is one of the greatest gifts we can offer the world.