Yesterday we read that John the Baptist (or Baptizer) was a little lord a leaping in utero. Today, we read of his grand entrance into the world:
When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy. (Luke 1:57-58, NIV)
Little John was born, and the neighbors and relatives celebrated! I imagine they celebrated that the baby was healthy, the mom was healthy, and that the mom was finally blessed with motherhood after waiting for so long.
The Bible says, “…they shared her joy.”
Joy can be shared, should be shared.
That sounds so simple and common sense. Of course joy can be shared. It’s like my 17-month-old niece. When the people around her laugh, she laughs. The punch line passed her by, but that doesn’t matter. She sees her family laughing and happy, and she joins in. It’s contagious. And that definitely works the other way around! When that baby girl laughs, you can’t help but smile. We share her joy.
But joy isn’t always shared. It has an enemy—jealousy.
We’ve all been there, right? A co-worker gets the promotion, the raise, the credit, the award. A friend gets the guy or girl, the wedding, the marriage, the home, the dog, the family. Joy fills their hearts and colors their faces. But it doesn’t spread into ours.
Why? Because we think that we deserve the job, the pay, and the accolades. We can’t understand why things always work out for them and never work out for us. It’s not fair.
Instead of sharing their joy, we sneer at it. We rob them of our congratulations. We imprison ourselves in resentment. Proverbs 14:10 says, “Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.”
Bitterness and envy squash joy, but joy is meant to be shared. This Christmas, will you share joy, or will you squelch it?
Questions for Reflection:
- What resentment or jealousy are you harboring that’s holding you back from experiencing joy?
- Whose joy could you share today with a text, card, or call?