Joy is such a short simple word for such a full and rich and complicated emotion. How can I describe joy? It has so many facets and so many ways of manifesting in my life. It is most certainly an emotion that fills me up, rather like an exquisite meal fills my tummy.
But joy is not tangible. You can’t see it, except as a reflection in yourself or someone else. And you certainly can’t touch it, or smell it, or taste it. And you really can’t hear it unless it is expressed through someone’s words or laughter. And yet there is nothing quite as magnificent as experiencing joy.
When I sit on my lanai in the morning I am filled with a quiet joy. The feeling creeps gently inside me at that time of the day. I am slowly coming to my senses out of sleep. I am not a morning person and it takes me a while to be fully present in my body.
So I sit and listen to the birds as they too slowly awaken to the day. I smell the fresh air which usually carries the subtle fragrance of the pine trees behind my garden. If the sun is rising I watch it wake the day with rays of light and this always bring light into my heart. This quiet morning time is very blessed as I make my connection with God and invite Him to join me in my day.
Joy can also be a noisy, rambunctious (now there’s an old-fashioned English word!!), eruption of feeling. I know that Rich and I felt that kind of joy as we watched the Dallas Cowboys play victoriously against the New Orleans Saints just a few days ago:-). Nothing quiet about that one as we jumped for joy and punched the air in exhilaration.
Joy can be felt at the sight of an amazing God-created sunset or an equally beautiful sunrise. It can come with the birth of a new baby or in a froth of white wedding gowns. Joy can manifest at something as simple as receiving an unexpected letter or card or hearing the voice of a distant loved one on the other end of the telephone.
And joy is also a warm excitement that radiates from my heart throughout my body as I realize that we are once again at that moment of the year when we celebrate the birthday of our Saviour. As I prepare to go to Mass this evening there is a sensation of anticipation in my heart that has nothing to do with the gifts under the tree. Although they will also produce their own joy upon opening.
Tonight there is the joy of knowing that I am a beloved child of God. Of knowing that God loved me so much that He gave me the ultimate gift of His only Son, Jesus. And then realizing that Jesus, in his turn, loved me so much that he made the ultimate sacrifice that I might know Him and be with Him eternally. Tonight is the ultimate night of joy.