Monday, November 14, 2016

Thus Begins Joy

C.S. Lewis has been my go-to (in addition to the Bible, of course) for describing joy:

"it is that of an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction. I call it Joy, which is here a technical term and must be sharply distinguished both from Happiness and from Pleasure. Joy (in my sense) has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again. Apart from that, and considered only in its quality, it might almost equally well be called a particular kind of unhappiness or grief. But then it is a kind we want. I doubt whether anyone who has tasted it would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasures in the world. But then Joy is never in our power and pleasure often is." C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life, chapter one

Between now, November 14, 2016, and January 1, 2017, all postings on this blog will spotlight joy. They will envelop and espouse the joy Lewis tasted in all its flavors: giddy, sad, melancholy, wistful, confident, beautiful, tragic and ultimately and always, Godly, because God is the source. 

In everything, we cannot muster up joy in its fullness, capability and comfort without the Triune God of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And for that, I am joyfully thankful. While all of my efforts to conjure, talk myself into and sappily ride the coattails of some human construct of joy disappoint, tapping into the reservoir of God through the Spirit of Christ results in, as Lewis surprisingly discovered, joy:

"It may be asked whether my terror was at all relieved by the thought that I was now approaching the source from which those arrows of Joy had been shot at me ever since childhood. Not in the least. No slightest hint was vouchsafed me that there ever had been or ever would be any connection between God and Joy. If anything, it was the reverse. I had hoped that the heart of reality might be of such a kind that we can best symbolize it as a place; instead, I found it to be a Person. For all I knew, the total rejection of what I called Joy might be one of the demands, might be the very first demand, He would make upon me. There was no strain of music from within, no smell of eternal orchards at the threshold, when I was dragged through the doorway. No kind of desire was present at all." C.S. Lewis, describing the early days of his conversion, in Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life, chapter fifteen. 

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-25

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