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Happy New Year has been said by me and to me a bunch lately. As I think about that statement, I would have to say that it could be viewed as a completely unrealistic statement. It is so easy to get caught up in the “American Dream” and the pursuit of happiness. The desire to be happy is a powerful fuel that motivates us to do and try more and more things. It can become the goal or standard we all attempt to achieve. I see it in myself and in my kids. Our “wants” tend to dictate what will bring us happiness, but the funny thing is that “true happiness” is not something “wants” can give or at least sustain.   Even someone like me, the eternal optimist, who thinks two drops of water makes the glass way over half full, knows being happy all the time is realistically impossible. I know the Bible tells us that with God all things are possible, but being happy all the time? I don’t think that is how God made us.

How about ‘have a Joyous New Year’ for a completely different approach?  Happiness is an emotion, but joy is like a state of being. It is like the wake behind a ski boat where the water is calm all the while waves are crashing all around. Jesus tells us that in this world we are going to encounter lots of struggles/troubles, but he also says emphatically that we are to be of good cheer because he has overcome the world.

No matter if I am happy or sad, rich or poor, healthy or sick, alone or with friends, I can still have Joy. Joy doesn’t hinge on my circumstances or what I have or how I feel like happiness does. It hinges on God’s promises. It hinges on His faithfulness and His promise to never leave me or forsake me. Joy stems from God’s love for me. Joy stems from my trusting in God. It is joy that gives me peace no matter what things are happening around me. Joy is everlasting. Joy is that spring of Jesus’ goodness that bursts forth from deep within us and is a refreshing fountain to everyone we meet.

I hope and pray for you a JOYOUS new year! I pray that the fountain within you be a gusher in 2012! It is our goal for 2012 that we can bring joy to you and your family.  We pray that everything we do would be a blessing to you and bring refreshment to the communities we serve.


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