Here’s something interesting about joy – so many of the biblical words for joy revolve around its expression. Some of the most common Hebrew root words for joy in the Old Testament (do you really want to know? Ok, they are simha, gil, sus and ranan – now wasn’t that informative) refer not only to the state of joy but lean more to its expression. Biblical references to joy are about shouts of joy (Ezekiel 7:7), making a joyful noise (Psalm 66:1; 95:1; 98:4, 6; 100:1), cheering (Jeremiah 48:33) – even the earth can’t contain its joy and bursts forth in joyful sound (Isaiah 49:13). The general idea is that joy is not some sedate, bottled-up-inside, state of being but an emotion that gets expressed; it’s more a sound than a mood.
So what allows you to bust loose and express joy – what gets you dancing, shouting out with joy (for all you Canadians, think of what you did when Sidney Crosby scored that goal in the gold medal game)? What moves you to sound out joy in your life? Watch the fans at one of the World Cup soccer matches – now you’re getting a feel for how joy plays out.
Maybe choosing joy means choosing to dance with abandon, to sing along with a song and not care what you sound like, to cheer, applaud and just generally make a joyful noise. Follow creation’s cue and make the choice to whoop it up.
“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” (Isaiah 55:12)