Joy is a spontaneous outburst of happiness. Joy is an exuberant emotion that bursts forth both with the expectation and the attainment of pleasure.
The first time my granddaughter lisped, “I love you Grandma,” I thought my heart would expand out of my chest with joy.
The pleasures of parenting mellow as our children become adults; a new baby in the family rekindles moments of joy long forgotten.
For me, Christmas is all about family and other loving relationships. I get a lot of joy from caring for plants. I know other people get a lot of joy from their pets because they put so much effort into caring for them.
Relationships are built on giving, rather than getting. Caring for someone or something builds the relationship and creates joy in the relationship.
I also feel joy in the mere realization of being alive. Walking in the crisp air with the sun on may face creates a euphoria that makes me want to skip and sing: I can move! I can feel! I’m alive!
During the few times in my life when I have been sick and unable to get about as I usually do, I feel more vulnerable, more dependent on others and less like myself. However, those times of limited independence help me to be more compassionate toward those who deal with limitations every day. It makes me more grateful for the good health I usually enjoy. It encourages me to work to take care of my health and live a healthy lifestyle.
Christmas presents and parties can bring us momentary joy, but day-to-day joy comes from other things… like a sunset, coffee with a friend or a baby’s smile.
For me, joy comes from anything that makes me feel more alive… more at home in my own body.
Each year during Advent (the four weeks before Christmas), I try to write about the Advent themes. Next week I will write about Love.