Was talking to a dear friend of mine the other night. She had read an article on joy which stated that although we interpret the meaning of the word to be happiness, the actual original meaning was grace.
Grace is such a rich reality. It includes all of the following:
The presence of God
The power of Love
The incredible knowledge of being ultimately safe in the care of God
Being blessed, gifted and happy.
So joy includes happiness, but is not limited to it. Joy is the manifestation of grace in our lives when we realized that we are not trapped by our fears, sadness, difficulties or emotions.
I find that Joy is and independent truth. It exists as a very real expression of the Grace of God. Joy is. And joy is not limited nor is it extinguished by those moments of life which we often label negatively. Thomas Merton has written,
"Do not look for rest in any pleasure, because you were not created for pleasure: you were created for Joy. And if you do not know the difference between pleasure and joy you have not yet begun to live."
This season of Advent, this season of beginnings, let us begin to Live in Christ!