You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy bacon, which is just about the same. In a New Yorker cartoon, a man and woman are seated at a restaurant. The man says, “Okay, Cynthia. I’ll tell you my hopes and dreams, my joys and my passions. But be forewarned they all concern a particular sports team.”

What has brought you joy in the past seven days? Where was God in the middle of that joy?

Happiness is a feeling that comes from doing what pleases God.

Rejoicing, gentleness, Christian instruction and prayer are ingredients of the peace of God.  Rejoice in the Lord always.

Life’s real crown of joy is found in relationships. God came down at Christmas to be in a relationship with and through us.  

Philippians 4-7 says, “ Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. (The Message Version)

How many charities, helping agencies and missions have been started because someone was able to feel another’s pain and couldn’t forget it? 

How many of us would love our unlovely neighbor without the memory of how we felt when we chose not to be the good Samaritan? 

As much as we want to forget about painful times, block out memories of tough moments, hurry up through darkness to the light at the end of the tunnel, or say “wait a minute” to the computer that starts screeching a horrible noise as I am finishing this article on being joyful in all things — the computer freezes, mouse disappears and my work is gone … joy comes from God’s nearness at lifting us up in all of these times.

In the end, it is probably better to take Paul seriously and revel in God always, for who knows what spiritual gain may be waiting for us in 2019?

The Rev. Angela Madden is pastor of Winfield First Presbyterian Church.

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