A working definition of Joy

Our Advent theme this week is Joy, which can be tricky. I have preached on joy often in my ministry, so I have thought about this subject thoroughly to create a definition.

In our era of authentic leadership, people lead through transparency, so stories about weakness are not just allowed; these stories are celebrated. What we used to hide, now we use. With this shift, culture is more aware that comedians, musicians, artists, and pastors who inspire us with joyful presentations are often struggling internally. Joy is no longer associated with mood because moods change so quickly.

So the definition of joy I presented in Sunday’s sermon and I share now is this:

Joy is finding and living in God’s centrality.

I recognize this is not a spectacular definition on the first read but think about it more. “Finding” is a process that can take minutes or decades. We keep looking for God in the middle of every situation.

When we do find God at the center, we do not always initially like the conclusion, and we find that God is in the middle of all kinds of things we do not prefer. This process to find and live with God in the center produces the allusive joy we long after.

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