Why is joy such a small word?

The word joy is totally inadequate. Three letters do nothing to describe the intense, heart-thumping, tear-jerking, laughter-prompting feeling that God’s presence evokes. Joy is more than happiness, more than serenity, more than elation. It’s all of those things rolled into one explosive ball. Joy makes the best wonder drug taste like wallpaper paste. Surely we can do better than three letters and one simple syllable.

Or maybe not. Maybe “joy” is simple for a reason. Perhaps it’s a simple word to remind us that joy is not a mystery buried deep within complexity, philosophy, psychology and theology. Joy is found in love, in life, and ultimately, in God. It’s in the very air we breathe, and it is just as accessible. All we have to do is be present and be willing.

God doesn’t require us to study, work our fingers to the bone, or climb mountains, although we are more than welcome to do all of those things if we wish. More than anything, He wants us to be present in His creation. To be open and available to God and to one another. Joy lives in simplicity and in love.

Besides, if we wanted to call it something else, what would that be? Holycowwoohooiminlovehallelujahshakalakaboomboomyippeewootwootahhhhh? I don’t think so. Let’s call it joy and then just live it.

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