I have always believed that Christmastime is a time for joy. For feeling joy and being filled with it. Joy is defined as feelings of great pleasure and happiness. It also has within its meaning rejoicing.
I'm going to suggest that it is possible to be filled with joy and not feel either great pleasure or happiness. At that time. For that Christmas. How can I say this? I have experienced it. Both. In my life are Christmases filled, literally, with fun and smiles, laughter and being happy. Seemed that all was well with the world on those Christmases. It was super easy to say I had joy then.
I've also had Christmases that were lonely and forlorn. Nothing to feel happy about. Many tears. To have seen me then you'd think I didn't even know joy existed. However I can say that it is totally possible to cherish a kernel of joy deep in your heart even while the heart on your sleeve is broken and tattered. Sounds sad, doesn't it? The reality is that not every Christmas will be pleasant or happy. Life simply doesn't work that way. There will be times when Christmas is painful. Many reasons for this. Maybe a loved one has passed. I had a year in which I lost three loved ones...in the same year. That was a sad Christmas. Maybe a marriage has died. Let me be 'authentic' and tell you that this is also something I know about. Maybe jobs were lost and with them came upheavals. And you know what? It is totally OKAY to feel sad at Christmastime. I know.
If I remember that "happiness" is an emotion and not an expectation, then I can better move through the difficult times. Because sadness, too, is an emotion. Emotions are changeable and temporary. Joy, however, is a state of mind...a state of being. Yes, I agree it has within it those feelings of great pleasure and happiness. Yes, I believe it can be expressed by rejoicing. But I don't think joy is dependent upon emotions.
I think joy is that warmth of soul we feel when we see the sun rise in the morning. It is that warmth of heart we feel when we see a little child's eyes light up when they see the lights go on, on the Christmas tree.
Christmas Joy is that upwelling of inexpressible knowing that tomorrow will be a new day, as yet to be written. Maybe the best gifts of Christmas are those wrapped in joy and not paper and ribbon.
Next time let's talk about Christmas Traditions. Like listening to Christmas music while you bake cookies. :)