Joy. The readings today are chock full of joy. It’s almost as if, as we begin the new year, God wants to remind us that there is joy to be had in the world we live in. While we look around at the world and see a mess sometimes, there is joy to be had. In this world and in the next.
Where does joy come from? Does is come from the gifts you had under the tree? Being asked out on the perfect date? Making a lot of money? While all of those things are great, they are not where true joy comes from. In the reading from Isaiah we are told “The Lord delights in you”. Not even “The Lord thinks you’re ok”, or “When you do the right thing the Lord delights in you”. But just in being you, your God delights in you and who you are! Knowing that there is a God who loves us, sometimes in spite of ourselves, is a joyful thing! In the Psalm today we are told to “Tell His glory among the nations!” When we share good news, it deepens it in us. Every time we speak in gratitude for the love our God has for us, it digs the truth of that a little bit deeper in us!
And we find joy as we look at the gifts and talents God has given us. In 1 Corinthians, Paul reminds us that we all have different gifts and talents which are from God, and He calls us to use them for the good of others and ourselves. The greatest gift? God’s free gift of salvation – offering His Son to take our place on the cross when we didn’t ask for it, didn’t deserve it and, far too often, don’t appreciate it. But He did it anyway. And then God continues to bring good things that bring joy to our lives! Gifts to serve the world. Sometimes we look around and think “If only I could do….” Or, “If only I were more like so-and-so.” But we can’t all have the same gifts. We can’t all be the same. The world would be incredibly flat and boring if each of us brought the same gifts to the table. I can’t cook at all. Not my strength. But I have friends who are such amazing cooks and they celebrate that gift by cooking for me, and many others, wonderful meals. But I have other gifts. I love to decorate and paint – I enjoy the process of creating a warm and welcoming place. Instead of bemoaning the fact that I can’t cook, I celebrate what I can do.
Lastly, we end the readings with Jesus turning water into wine. His first miracle. Keeping a party going. A joyful event – a wedding! Could it be that this was Jesus’ first miracle simply to show us that there is joy to be had? Celebrating to be done? Gratitude for lives being merged in love? Joy. Chock full of it. I like to think that Jesus was having a great time at the wedding feast and didn’t want it to end….and so He kept it going. Jesus was celebrating. Jesus was finding joy in the moment. It’s a great example for all of us. Jesus knew what was coming. In not too long a time frame, Jesus would be arrested, tortured and crucified. But in that moment, He found joy. There are trials, difficulties and stresses that will come our way. But today, let’s choose joy in the moment. Celebrate. Joy. Chock full of it.