Are you always filled with joy? Are you one of those fortunate people whose glass is always half full? Do you wake up in the morning with a smile on your face and just can’t wait to begin the day?
If you are you must are probably in the minority. I know a few of those folks and they are a fun to be with. When I’m feeling a little bit low they have a way of lifting my spirits. I forget about what was bothering me and the light in my world becomes a little bit brighter.
I never stop to think about why I’m not always the cheerful one. But now that I’ve read Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians I might have an answer. Do you know what it is?
First, it might be that we have to make an effort to be joyful. It could be that joy doesn’t come to us without some work on our part first. There’s that word again, work. Maybe if we’d call work play then it wouldn’t be so hard to do.
Any way it sounds as if we begin the day really trying to be joyful, put on a happy face, even when we don’t feel happy, before long we may actually be happy.
That’s the first part and the second thing is to pray continually. That’s another thing that’s hard for all of us to do. How do we find the time to pray without stopping?
I’ve heard people say, I’ve probably said it myself, we need to keep talking to God in our minds just as if he was walking right beside us. And that’s not so hard to do if you don’t move your lips all the time. Because then people might think you’re talking to yourself. They probably wouldn’t believe you if you said you were talking to God.
But, if we spend our days talking to God like he was always right beside us don’t you think our days would be more joyful? When I think back to the times I’ve been in constant prayer I realize I didn’t have time to think about my problems and I was happier.
So, let’s make a commitment to pray, talk, with God all the time. And I promise I won’t think you’re talking to yourself. In fact I’ll know you’re talking to the One who has all the answers.
The third thing Paul says is that we should give thanks no matter what happens. Now that’s not an easy thing to do either. Have you ever tried to give God thanks after running into a deer? Or thanking God when your water heater quits working? But hey, we shouldn’t say that won’t work until we give it a try.
I really believe that we could be filled with joy more often if we’d really try to do what Paul said. So, in the Advent season as we prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of the Messiah let’s all make the effort together to be “always joyful, pray continually, and give thanks for everything.” I’m going to make the commitment to try and I hope you will join me. Just think, if we all do it how much happier this world will be and if we’re talking with God more often then more of our prayers will be heard and it’ll be easier for us to be thankful for everything, everyday, no matter what takes place. And just think what a wonderful gift that would be for those around us.
What a way to share the love of our Lord, Jesus Christ by deciding to change our lives to be more joyful, more prayerful, and more thankful. We will more than likely find it easier to share the Good News of Jesus with those we meet on our journey through life.
Thanks be to God for his loving and forgiving grace. Amen.