Neh. 8:10


. . . the joy of the LORD is your strength."


HAPPY NEW YEAR! Isn't that the common greeting for the beginning of the year? It is a nice thing to say and a pleasant thing to hear. After all, we'd all like to look forward to a happy year. Did you ever think about what happiness is? What, exactly, is it that makes a year, or a day, or even a moment a happy one? We often think that being a Christian should make us happy. Interestingly, the Bible doesn't say much about happiness. The few times the word is found in the New Testament it is used to convey a calm contented sense of well being rather than the giddy, bubbly, emotion often associated with happiness. To be happy, in the biblical sense, is to be at peace. If we believe that God is in control of the situations of our life; if we believe that He is "working all things together" for our good, then we should be "happy" in all circumstances.

Perhaps what we should wish one another is JOY. The Bible has a lot more to say about that! The word "happy" appears in the NT only 4 times. "JOY," on the other hand, appears 63 times. There is JOY in receiving the Word of God (Matt. 13:20). There is JOY in finding kingdom treasure (Matt. 13:44). The kingdom of God is peace and JOY in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17). JOY and hope are given by God (Rom. 15:13), the fruit of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). Jesus was filled with JOY through the Holy Spirit (Lk 10:21) as were the disciples (Acts 13:52). The jailer was JOYFUL because he and his family were saved (Acts 16:34). There is JOY in powerful and effective ministry (Lk. 10:17). John the Baptist leapt for JOY in his mother's womb in the presence of the unborn Jesus (Lk. 1:44). The angel brought a message of great JOY (Lk. 2:10). There is JOY in the empty tomb (Matt. 28:8). The disciples were JOYFUL to see the risen Lord (Lk. 24:41, 52). We can face trials with pure JOY (James 1:2). There is even JOY in suffering for Christ's sake because it brings heavenly reward (Lk. 6:23). With JOY we will behold His face (Jude 1:24-25).