While I was scrolling through Twitter the other day, I saw this quote from Pete Greig: “Suffering is inevitable in life but joy is not. Pursue joy. Laugh a lot. This is your unsolemn duty. Celebrate small things greatly.”
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about joy. In the bible it says that the “joy of the Lord is [our] strength” (Nehemiah 8:10) but when life feels overwhelming and there doesn’t seem much cause for celebration, that joy can be elusive.
When you’re going through a difficult time, it goes without saying that the last thing you want to hear is someone telling you to “cheer up”. Sometimes it’s not possible to pretend you’re joyful; it would feel false or hypocritical. As Christians, we know that the joy of the Lord doesn’t depend on our circumstances. It flows out of our relationship with God – knowing that, no matter how we may feel or what we may be facing, He is with us.
But I wonder how often we think about pursuing joy? When Jesus was walking with His disciples, He knew what was ahead, the suffering he would endure. But He focused on “the joy set before him” (Hebrews 12:2) and I see so many examples of how he enjoyed life and celebrated. I love the fact that Jesus cooks breakfast for His disciples after He is resurrected. It’s such a simple, ordinary act, but it would have brought so much joy to them.
Jesus’ first miracle, turning water into wine, was at a wedding. He knew the importance of celebrating the small moments. In community, sometimes the smallest moments are the best. When we make a cake for someone’s birthday, we celebrate who they are, and that may not seem like much to us, but it can mean a lot to them. When someone offers to do the washing-up even if it’s not their turn. When we all sit around in the lounge and play games, or end up laughing at something ridiculous. When we watch a good film together.
In the midst of our busy lives, let’s take time to celebrate, to pursue joy. Let’s hold on to the small moments and praise God for what He’s done.