Delight. Pleasure. Gladness. Bliss. Exultation. Ecstasy.

These are only a few of the synonyms in my thesaurus for joy.

When Jehovah God breathed life into Adam, He bequeathed to him His own image. In so doing He passed down every emotion known to humankind. Many of these have been warped by sin—righteous anger into malice, jealousy into envy, satisfaction into pride. But one has remained unchanged, and that is joy.

Joy is a word we don’t use often, but it is really the purest form of happiness. To be happy has become so shallow in our culture today that it is taken for granted, over-used, and misused. What do you think would happen if we sang “Joyous Birthday to You” at parties?

But there is much more to joy than just smiles and laughter when wonderful things happen. A wise man said,

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

–James 1.2-4

Wait! Wouldn’t this mean that joy isn’t just for good weather?

Many people don’t get why Christians are thankful even when tragedy strikes. But it dawned on me only recently why it works.

We don’t have to be afraid of hard times; instead, we can be joyful because we know our God is working miracles in the world, through the most unlikely circumstances, to better His kingdom. This faith strengthens our endurance, like James said, so we come out of trials more like Christ than ever before.

On a different note, here we are already into the Christmas season. What a wonderful time to be joyful!

What else can joy mean to Christians?

Did you know “joy” is in the NAS Bible 182 times?

What is your favorite synonym for joy?