Joy is more than happiness, joy is a living, breathing dancing and singing thing! And joy is to be shared, to be embraced with others.
Yet joy is often rejected – to seek it we need only to open the Book of Psalms and to deeply breath the words of King David:
For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favour lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning …
You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Yehovah my God, I will praise you forever. (Psalm 30:6-13)
A life lived well is a happy life, but joy is not in life; in long life; it is in the moment. To be joyful you need to live in the moment and when we do and we experience such joy it should make us want to dance and sing!
King David danced; King David’s words sing, they sing of joy, a joy that comes from deep within, from knowing Yehovah and His great love.
The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!
Zion hears and is glad, and the daughters of Judah rejoice, because of your judgments, O Lord.
For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.
O you who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the lives of his saints; he delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
Light is sownfor the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!
(Psalm 97:1, 8-12)
Look past the calamity and confusion of this time for a moment; look at the beauty of this world and all her people. Consider every breath as a breathing in of the spirit of God, as it is the Almighty who creates all including the air we breath and it is His love that moves the sun and stars and this earth’s rotation that provides the atmosphere that fills our lungs with life-sustaining oxygen.
You and I are here because Someone wanted us here – yes, your parents may well have wanted you as well, but the Creator wanted YOU, not just a new baby, a child, an anybody, but the unique, one and only you. He wanted you in this world and He wants you to grow to be all that He created you to be.
So celebrate that! The soul that seeks Truth and sees His Love is a soul that sings.
One of the important aspects of last weeks Torah Portion was gratitude. Having gratitude leads to being thankful and a thankful heart is one that can be quick to embrace joy when it presents itself in that short moment of time.
And in this weeks Torah Portion (Re’eh), the Israelites are commanded to be joyful: “And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, …”(Deut 12:12)
It is amazing to think that the Almighty wishes you to find joy. Not just a good and safe or healthy life but a life of joy. In fact, the very failure to be joyful in living a life of righteousness and being grateful and joyful thanks to His Providence and abundance actually brings a curse “… Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness out of the abundance of all things” (Deut 28:47).
A failure to be righteous and to rejoice brings a curse and leads to decadence and decay.
Seek joy. Open Psalms and read and sing.