Finding That Easter Joy All Year
By Sister Jenny Wilson
Sometimes at the oddest moments the words of a kids’ song by Heritage Kids pop into my head: “I got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart to stay.”
I learned this song years ago at a summer camp where I worked. This song recently pushed the play button in my head, on a day when I was not seeing or feeling much joy. I had made a mistake at my ministry that required immediate attention, I had several other tasks to complete, and I had to pack to go out of town the next day. And that song was going around in my head just the way it is sung: with a lot of enthusiasm. All it was doing was annoying me!
Those words kept coming to me and I started to think that maybe, just maybe, I was going crazy. In order to prevent that from happening, I stopped and sat completely still. Apparently, this song wanted to make a point, so I decided to try to prove it wrong by trying to name five places where I felt joy that day. I was in a bad mood and absolutely positive I would not be able to find that many. Instead, I came up with more than five. Taking this time for reflection allowed me to feel the joy I was sure was not there. I thanked God for the moment.
This leads me to think about Easter Joy. Thinking back to past years, I can’t remember everything I have felt, but there is usually something in my Lenten journey that leads me to experience the joy of Easter Sunday in some way. But the Easter Joy that can be with us during Lent does not only happen during this time of year. Life can bring that any time. Life can bring pain and suffering at any time as well. It’s possible we showed up to church on Easter ready to celebrate this joy. It is also possible we were not ready to experience it. There is no easy path to those joyful feelings when the hard stuff of life happens.
However, Easter reminds us that resurrection will and does happen. Lucky for us Easter is not just one day: The Easter season lasts 50 days. We have time to live into and see God in the resurrection. Taking this time will help us live this Easter Joy even after the season has moved on. We can celebrate this in little ways throughout the year. We can reflect on the joy that comes into our lives in many small ways.
On that recent day when I was feeling overwhelmed and tired, I let God remind me that joy is often present. Easter is the reminder that helps us reflect and remember that the deep joy we have comes from knowing that Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us so we will have eternal life.