Christmas and New Year’s celebrations have come and gone – the plastic trees and fake snow have been taken down, ready to be used again next year. All that partying and fun has come and gone, and the city is quiet again. It’s time to go back to work and school, or hard, everyday life.
And these short lived celebrations that we have in December must leave you wondering “what is the secret to constant, continuous joy?”
The world has been trying to find the answer to that question for a long time. And the world and, if we are honest, we ourselves even, have concluded that happiness is found in having lots of possessions and things – a new car, a faster computer, your own house, a better-paying job, more clients, more customers, more money, more degrees, or a bigger business. And so we pursue these things in the belief that by acquiring them, they will somehow make us endlessly happy.
But, just like the fun of Christmas and New Year’s parties tends to be short-lived, we are shocked to find out that it’s all one big, fat lie. You perhaps have a fleeting moment of happiness when you first buy that new car or computer, only to realize that now you have to buy insurance and radio licenses and deal with cops. Perhaps you do get that better paying job, but only to discover it demands long work hours and your boss is an Egyptian slave driver. Or you marry that beautiful girl or handsome man, only for things to turn sour and bitter almost overnight.
So let me ask you this all important question this morning “Are you happy? Do you have constant joy in your life?” Some of us may indeed be able to answer yes, I do. Others perhaps experience it only in drips and drabs, like spots of white paint on a black t-shirt. But for the rest of us, I am willing to bet that constant joy is an elusive, almost mythical dream. It’s like the nyami-nyami or Loch Ness monster – something you always talk about and yet have never seen.
In a life that is continuously interrupted by sickness, death, hunger, debt, frustrations, anger and sin, where can you find unceasing joy that endures even through all your life’s troubles?
The answer is given to us in Nehemiah 12. Its verses reveal to us that first of all, true joy comes from above, therefore Look up, and Seek it from God.