23 Dec Joy
Read Habakkuk 3:17-18
Thought for the Day: Today, I can always choose joy.
In his book, Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis gave us a wonderful understanding of joy. Lewis grew up in a non-religious home, but at an early age learned to love ancient myths. This was where he learned how heroes and villains clashed in the battle of good vs. evil. Reading about these imaginary lands led Lewis to experience a profound sense of joy. Ultimately, he realized that the joy he felt through these stories must have come from somewhere. No matter how much he loved the works of writers like Sir Walter Scott, he knew that those stories did not hold a monopoly on joy nor did Scott invent it. Therefore, Lewis concluded that the joy he experienced through reading mythology could only have come from God. This joy became for C.S. Lewis evidence of God’s existence.
Long before Sir Walter Scott’s The Lady of the Lake or C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, the Prophet Habakkuk helped the people of Judah know that we can find joy in all situations. We know little about Habakkuk as a person. What we do know is that he was a prophet in Judah before the invasion by the Babylonians. Despite the fact that Habakkuk knew that his nation would endure hardship at the hands of an enemy army, he also knew where to find joy.
C.S. Lewis understood that there is a joy beyond our circumstances that can only come from God. The prophet Habakkuk was confident that this joy can be experienced no matter what misfortune we face. In the Ancient World, a withered fig tree would mean that the finer things of life were limited since this fruit was considered a delicacy and not a necessity. However, when the fields yielded no food or there was no herd in the stall, a nation was either in a time of depression or had experienced a natural disaster. Therefore, reading Habakkuk’s prophetic writings reminds us that even during the most difficult times, nothing can take away the joy that comes from God.
The Christmas season is all about joy. Consider the shepherds running from their flocks to get a first look at the Baby Jesus. Rather than fixating on their low position in First Century society, the shepherds chose to rejoice. Every day we have this same opportunity. There will always be shriveled fig trees or times when the field seems to yield no food. These are the moments of disappointment in our lives. Let’s remember that joy is not limited to the ‘good times’. Instead, no matter what we face we can choose to rejoice because we know Who is in control!
Pastors Stan and David