In his teachings Jesus draws extensively on the Old Testament themes of the Sabbath, the Jubilee and the messianic feast to make a point. Jesus told many stories about God's love for celebration. When the lost is found, the finder throws a feast. When the prodigal returns, the father has a party. When a single person repents, the angels rejoice. And on and on. Jesus, the man of sorrows, was also a man of celebration and joy. Jesus' first miracle was at a joyous occasion, a wedding in Cana.
Like the religious leaders of Jesus' day, we may sometimes find ourselves resistant to joy. We may resist joy because we fear disappointment. Or we may resist joy because it doesn't seen congruent with being a serious minded person of faith. We may resist joy because we have been shamed or even punished for being overly enthusiastic as a child.
It is a risk to make room for joy in our lives. Joy requires that we be open to the possibility of experiencing conflicting emotions. If we wait to experience joy until our anger, grief and self-condemnation are completely gone, then we will wait a long time. But it is possible to experience joy without denying or avoiding other more painful emotions. We can follow Jesus' example of joy today. When joy comes, we can receive it. It is a good gift from God. www.nacronline.com