Joy to the world the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room

And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and heaven
And nature sing………………………………………….joy unspeakable joy!

I love to put on Christmas carols during the holiday season. They are filled with the gospel and the good news that Christ brings. I find myself peaceful as I spend hours listening to them while I do various tasks from cooking to praying. My heart drinks in ‘good news’ and I am filled with joy as my mind is renewed with hope.

Soon the Christmas season will be over but JOY doesn’t have to end. The joy that Christ brings is within me all the time. It’s Emmanuel. Do you access that joy? And did you know that joy is connected to movement? Look below at the foundation of Greek and Hebrew to get a clearer picture of what I mean.

a. OT:1523 giyl (gheel); or (by permutation) guwl (gool); a primitive root; properly, to spin round (under the influence of any violent emotion), i.e. usually rejoice, or (as cringing) fear: KJV-be glad, joy, be joyful, rejoice
b. OT 5970 `alats (aw-lats’); a primitive root; to jump for joy, i.e. exult: KJV-be joyful, rejoice, triumph
c. NT:4640 skirtao (skeer-tah’-o); akin to skairo (to skip); to jump, i.e. sympathetically move (as the quickening of a fetus): KJV-leap (for joy)
d. OT:8055 samach (saw-makh’); a primitive root; probably to brighten up, i.e. (figuratively) be (causatively, make) blithe or gleesome: KJV-cheer up, be (make) glad, (have, make) joy (-ful), be (make) merry, (cause to, make to) rejoice, very.
e. NT:21 agalliao (ag-al-lee-ah’-o); from agan (much) and NT:242; properly, to jump for joy, i.e. exult: KJV-be (exceeding) glad, with exceeding joy, rejoice (greatly)

There are lots of ways to express joy as we understand what it means to have God with us and in us. We can express gospel joy in words and in choreography. At our church, we did that on Christmas Eve by presenting a dance titled ‘Joy Unspeakable Joy’ but let’s look beyond dance ministry choreography and apply joy to the everyday movements we choose throughout the year.

That’s my December 2014 challenge for you. To help you frame joy in a practical way, here are 5 suggestions to create your own dance in day to day living:

a. Choose joy. Stop trying to figure everything out and trust God; get comfortable not knowing….
Pray and release it to God.
Phil 4:4-7
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. NIV

b. Access Joy and peace through Jesus. How are you looking at the situation? Are you getting negative rather than choosing to see your life with a thankful heart? Look for good things in your life; I intentionally look for truth and beauty every day.
Rom 15:13
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. NIV

c. Joy is not based on circumstances. Have good days even though your circumstances are not good.
1 Peter 3:8-14
8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. 11 He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. NIV

d. The words you choose will give life or death. And you will reap what you sow.
Prov 18:21
21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. NIV

e. Do something for someone else. Develop a giving heart.
Ps 37:3
3Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. NIV
Luke 12:34
34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. NIV

Christmas Joy from Mary:) Christmas 2014