It's a simple word that somehow defies description on a broad scale because it is so specific to each person's life and spirit. Happiness is a little easier to grasp, at least as a concept. Happiness lights up a room, has long term effects and many sources over the course of time.

But Joy, that is something unique, special and more deeply felt, way down in our souls. I believe joy, like wisdom, takes time for us to understand before we can savor just how much it changes both our perspective and our very being. My best understanding is that joy can be described as a tremble of intense delight and hope that never wavers, but keeps resonating.

How do you describe joy? Joy can be a feeling of elation over an accomplishment, our own or that of a loved one. Joy can also be a moment of deep satisfaction or peace. For others, joy is a sense of relief at having survived the unimaginable.

But, perhaps, there is an even more important question. How do you live joy?

Joy isn't one of those things we can fake, especially to ourselves. Putting on a good show for the people around us doesn't equal living a joyful life, although many have given a pretty good effort toward that effect. The Bible often speaks of God not being easily deceived either. When we claim a faith based in God as central to our daily living joy takes on another whole meaning, that of truth and grace as we seek to live according to our purpose. And there is joy built into that promise of God's love and faithfulness. The Bible shares many moments of rejoicing at a deep soul level. Biblical images of this very thing are abundant: David dancing with his people; Mary and Elizabeth sharing the news of their children's impending arrivals; Paul's letters to the emerging churches expressing his joy in their love of Christ.

When we consider joy as inherent in our spiritual practice, it becomes much more tangible, something solid we can hold onto fiercely. At other times we must let joy be without clinging to it for dear life. It is this duality that makes joy almost poignant as it weaves itself through human dreams and lives. The prophet Isaiah said, "For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth in singing. and all the tees of the fields shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall be to the Lord for a memorial, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off (Isaiah 55: 12-13)."

What brings us joy may very well be the belief that joy itself is already in us, that exercising its power makes it alive in the world around us as an act of faith.

Author's Bio: 

The Rev. Cory L. Kemp, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay with a double major in Communication and the Arts and Social Change and Development and a minor in Women's Studies, was ordained into the ministry of the Moravian Church in North America after completing her Master of Divinity degree studies through Moravian Theological Seminary. Over twenty-five years of experience in individual and community ministries gives Rev. Kemp an informed perception about faith, its implications and struggles in everyday life. Rev. Kemp focuses her work on helping people understand their faith and how faith can become transformational in their lives. Bring authentic, meaningful faith into your daily life by visiting and downloading your complimentary copy of the new Special Report, "7 Ways To Bring Authentic, Meaningful Faith Into Your Daily Life."