Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Christmas, and the Permanence of Joy

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Christmas, and the Permanence of Joy

Article excerpt

Joy can sometimes seem fleeting, even absent. Usually we think of joy as a reaction to some circumstance. But what if joy was more permanent than fluctuating circumstances? What if joy was such a natural element of man's character that it couldn't be taken away? (see John 16:22). Those "what ifs" become solid fact when we consider the spiritual source of joy.

When Jesus was born, angels announced, "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people" (Luke 2:10). That spiritual foundation was emphasized by the Apostle Paul when he spoke of joy as the "fruit of the Spirit," with no law against it (see Galatians 5:22, 23).

Our family needed that spiritually based joy one Christmas. The day before Christmas Eve we were told that two beloved relatives, my husband's grandmother and my dad, were seriously ill and might not be with us long. Could we come be with them for the holiday? Without hesitation, we made arrangements to begin the journey to see our relatives, who lived near each other.

Sadly, I realized Christmas might not be quite so joyful for our three children that year. So during the 600-mile trip, we talked about joy. We recognized that it can sometimes be exuberant, but it can often be quiet and thoughtful. It can be an inner, silent conviction that God, good, is always with us. We shared ideas about the kind of joy that's not self-centered, but God-centered, joy that the angels, God's messengers, sing about. Our conversation was stirring thought to recognize the healing qualities of joy. It uplifts us when we feel sad. It calms us when we feel afraid. It's a companion when we feel lonely. Because its roots are in divine Love, God, it's logical that where God is (and God is everywhere) there is joy.

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, brought a level of reverence to our celebration of the Christmas season. …

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