My husband and i attend rockharbor church in costa mesa and we went to the christmas eve service twice this year. (purely by accident, we didn’t realize that christmas eve covered the weekend before and christmas eve) But that is ok with us we enjoyed the service that much!!! So much so I wanted to share my thoughts on it…….
The topic of the service was Joy and being joyful. Joy defined not as happiness but as Mega happiness. To help illustrate what Mega Joy looks like our pastor offered up 3 amazing quotes, the first found in an article called The Joy-driven Life from Christianity Today. the Quote reads ” The gospel remains a scandal, indeed, because it announces joy right when everything is falling apart, just when today’s experts offer “sober assessments of the current situation,” and in their euphoric moments can only say they remain “cautiously optimistic.” The second quote from True Joy by Rev. Julie Yarborough reads “Happiness depends on things going our way, whereas joy is based on the knowledge of the presence of God-with-us at all times, from the very beginning. Joy is something we can celebrate even when things are not going our way, even in the midst of grief and sadness.” and Lastly a quote from Barbara Brown Taylor which i found to be a good reminder of why Jesus, intended to die on the cross, is still someone to find joy in it reads “The only condition for joy is the presence of God. Joy happens when God is present and people know it, which means that it can erupt in a depressed economy, in the middle of a war, in an intensive care waiting room. ”
All 3 of these verses were so powerful to me, they reminded me that in the midst of a troubled economy, troubled marriages, troubled lives God’s presence brings us Joy. If we reside in him we will have joy. That is why a savior intended for a tragic death is still joyful, because that savior was a gift from God, he is God and the presence of God and therefor he is Joy! How amazing is that???
So why the title of this blog? he’d be happy with a salad bowl? Well our pastor is quit the comic and as he described joy to us in a tangible way he shared with us a story about his son, that i know we can all relate to, although I’m sure coming from a church of mostly 18-26year olds it was lost on a lot of people. While the found it funny I’m sure only a parent could understand the intensity of the Joy…. He shared with us that his son had learned to clap. This his 3rd child and while it is exciting it is more exciting because his son had downs and so when he clapped they were Joyed!! he described a scene as I said only a parent could appreciate. A scene where he and his wife erupted in praise and tears and clapping and cameras so much and so loudly so that their son cried in fear! Poor kid was scared of their joy. 🙂 as he told this story my husband and i sat barely able to breath we were laughing so hard, thinking of all the times joy has erupted in our house to the point it scared our baby. (i never knew joy could scare someone until Harvey came along). He then proceeded to ask us why we give our yr olds gifts for their birthday and christmas. obviously not for them after all “they would be a happy with a salad bowl” and that is so true!!!! some of my son’s favorite toys our the Tupperware in our cupboards or measuring spoons. But we give gifts to them for the joy we receive. We like to see the joy on their faces as they discover the wrapping paper, and that there is something under the paper. we enjoy the smile of pure joy as they see the gift, the new toy, and even the box!!! The salad bowl as it may be brings them Joy and their joy brings us Joy.
So we were reminded this christmas eve, that the birth of our savior was Joyful, his death was Joyful, and our lives no matter how difficult they are, are also joyful. Because God is in all things, working and loving. And that is something to smile about!