Updated: Feb 15, 2021
"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." ~ Romans 15:13
Couldn't we all use a little extra joy these days?
I know the keeper of joy! And, so do you.
The month of Adar in the Jewish calendar is a celebration of joy.
It holds the holiday of Purim, which is when they read the whole megillah!
Yup, you heard me right. : )
That's actually where the phrase comes from. The word megillah, means scroll. During Purim, they read the whole megillah of Esther. The whole kit-n-caboodle, one might say.
Esther 9:22, "as the days on which the Jews gained rest from their enemies and the month in which their sorrow turned to joy and their mourning into a holiday..."
On Friday, we enter the month of Adar, the season when sorrow was turned to joy.
When I was first introduced to the meaning of this month, it instantly became one of my very favorite aspects of Jewish tradition. It teaches us to find joy in all moments, in all things, in all contexts, no matter what. It encourages us to see beauty in the ashes.
And, when we find something good in the world, may we multiply it greatly, either in our hearts, or indeed, that we may influence the outside world and the experience of others. If not for that, what else the purpose of life, after all?
When we think on the story of Esther, things were quite bleak. I'm pretty sure it's the only book of the Bible in which the name of God is not mentioned even once. And yet, His presence is everywhere.
When we look, in the midst of trial and even horror, we can indeed find the joy. What seems hidden, the hand of God, His miracles, the joy in the journey, can be found.
We have hope.
We have light.
We have peace.
We have joy.
David danced in the streets. Jesus was known to be party to merrymaking. Not to mention, He is epitomized as Light and Love. In that context, why not synonymous with Joy?
Day by day, we increase in joy... if we so choose.
Adar came before the Exodus... Joy as a prelude to God's miracles? Works for me.
It is also a season of giving! And, while that's phenomenally important, and we are told to be joyful givers, that's a message for another day.
Today, may we all curate and cultivate joy in each moment. May we know His Peace, may we place our trust in the God of Joy.
--> Psalm 119 tells us, God is good!
--> 1 John tells us, God is love!
--> Judges proclaims Him the God of peace.
--> Exodus tells us He is the God who heals... and, joy leads to healing, and healing leads to joy, so that seems to fit.
--> Acts tells us, all things are His to give! (It seems to me joy fits there as well.)
--> And, Deuteronomy tells us He is merciful. In His mercy, He grants us joy and beauty.
He is wise. He is faithful. He is full of grace. He is our comforter. He is our Abba.
As my grandmother used to say... "Thank God we have a God."
Not too far on the heels of Tu B'Shvat, as we enter Adar, may we too be trees of the forest singing with joy before the Lord!
"... the tree of the field is man's life..."
"... Then the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the LORD..."
(1 Chronicles 16:33)
Heavenly Father, Our Creator, Thank You for filling our hearts with joy. Thank You for granting us Your joy. Thank You for helping us to let Your joy in and overflow our hearts to touch the lives of others. Amen.
Joy, joy, joy, joy, joy...
"Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout to the Rock of our salvation! Let us enter His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him in song." ~ Psalm 95:2
"Then Nehemiah told them, 'Go and eat what is rich, drink what is sweet, and send out portions to those who have nothing prepared, since today is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.'" ~ Nehemiah 8:10
"You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand." ~ Psalm 16:11
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law." ~ Galatians 5:23
"For You are my help; I will sing for joy in the shadow of Your wings." ~ Psalm 63:7
"James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes of the Dispersion: Greetings. Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." ~ James 1:1-3
"May He give you the desires of your heart and make all your plans succeed. May we shout for joy at your victory and raise a banner in the name of our God. May the LORD grant all your petitions." ~ Psalm 20:4-5
May the Good Lord bless you and keep you, friends... always, in all ways. Amen.
Bonus song of praise... ♥
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