Embodying Joy

Our vision is far too short-sighted and our Jesus far too small.

So we wallow. We pity ourselves and our circumstances. We shut our lives off from the rest of the world to “cope” leaving the hungry unfed and the conversations left unsaid. We are stopping-short of conflict instead of leaning in. We avoid aisles and streets and people to keep us from those uncomfortable moments. We veer our eyes so as not to feel guilt. But we are all guilty. Guilty of foreboding joy that is found in him because joy doesn’t come through comfort or excitement or plenty. It comes to us naked, in a manger and on a cross. 

It was for the joy set before him that he endured the cross…

Joy is an ability given to us by the Spirit to see the big picture and lean into it because we know that our Jesus is so much bigger than our pain, than the mess of this world. He is big enough to stretch himself out for the whole world. For all people. All nations. All cultures, all parties, all who have breath. Everyone is in reach of his stretched out joy. Christ embodies joy through endurance, through the leaning towards his beloved. 

The Greek word for joy comes from the root xaρ-, “to extend favor, lean towards, be favorably disposed”. 

Through pain, through sorrow, enduring, knowing, he leaned towards us. For us, to know us, to show his love for us. This was his joy. To break down the walls that kept us from him. His joy. To reconcile all to himself. To extend an invitation to the dance of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Forever joyful. 

It was for the joy set before him that he endured the cross…

His endurance embodied the fullness of joy. His example given shows us that joy is in the seeing and knowing. He saw the goal and knew what needed to be done. He leaned towards it. We also know that one day Jesus will return to make all things new, that there is already victory over the darkness, that God’s love is stretched out, extending to the ends of the earth. And we can lean towards this world because

He is forever leaning towards us.

The embodiment of joy.

We can endure the pain of this broken world because of his leaning towards us. In joy, he endured to become the smallest of creatures, in silence and engulfed in darkness, growing and developing for nine months. He endured learning and obeying, growing and building. He endured rejection and hunger and temptation. His embodiment of joy is seen in his endurance to continue to pursue his beloved. Us.




In this Advent season, let us lean towards God and towards one another. Enduring our differences and difficult conversations for the sake of joy. Breaking down the walls that divide us so that we may stretch out our hands to them. For the sake of his stretched out hands.

When we keep our hands to ourselves are we not stretching his hands back out? When we choose comfort over endurance do we not opt out on joy and settle for happy? When we lean away, is he not still leaning towards us?

Our leaning away can look like looking away. The patches of privilege are easily laid over our eyes. The contacts of consumerism keep us blurry and busy. Our short-sighted vision keep us safe in our homes and not joyfully laying down our lives for one another, for all. Muslims, gays, republicans, democrats, pagans. The “other” that He also came for. He didn’t look away, he looked right at them, “Father, forgive…” 

He is forever leaning towards us. May we, the church, His church, do the very same.

Lean Towards Him

This week, instead of meditating on a scripture, I encourage you to steal yourself away from an hour and walk through the woods, a park or the beach. Spend time leaning towards God in the simplicity of just spending time with Him in creation. 

Lean Towards The Other 

What are ways you can practice leaning towards the other in your community? Is there a neighborhood event that you can attend that would help build connections? Or a neighbor you just need to be bold (and ask their name again) and invite for dinner? Comment below with your ideas!

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Hey friend! I'm excited to meet you! I live in Portland, OR and completely love city life. My hubby and I have been married for over 14 years and still completely adore each other. I am a Jesus follower who is passionate about building up the local church and developing healthy communities. It's so nice of you to stop by! So grab a coffee or a glass of wine, and hang out a bit.

2 thoughts on “Embodying Joy

  1. Beautifully written and so full of truth. Thank you for this blessing today. You’re such a beautiful soul and I always loved what you had to say to encourage me in the past. Now you continue to inspire me with your blog. Much love!🥰

    Liked by 1 person

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