The Oil of Joy

“Therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.” – Psalm 45:7 NIV

photo: Raye Wortel

I’ve been thinking about joy a lot lately.


With all the songs, and cards, and ornaments proclaiming joy, it’s been kind of hard to miss.


But what is joy really? Is it just happiness, or is it something more?


I remember yearning for happiness. For years I wanted to wake up with a smile on my face, a spring in my step, and for everyone to think of me as a cheerful person.


These days, I think of happiness as just an emotion tied to happenings.


When a “thing” is over, happiness seems to fade like the setting sun. There’s no promise I’ll see it tomorrow, as clouds may hide it from view.


Happiness appears fleeting and earthy, driven by moments and activity.


I want something deeper and richer that transcends trials and troubles, and sees the hope of God in everything and everyone.


I want something that overflows in the stillness and hustle of my life. Something that consumes me, covers my circumstances, shines in my dark hours, and replenishes my soul.


I’m looking for a holy gladness, fragrant and gifted from the Spirit – hard to wash away, and easily spread from my hands to another.


I want something like oil, the oil of joy.


But where does one find such golden treasure?


We read of a wedding song in Psalm 45 that is surely meant for Jesus. Verse seven says, “You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”


And we also see in Galatians 5:22 that the fruit of the Spirit is joy.


Joy was a gift from the Spirit, passed to Jesus when God rewarded him for his love of righteousness.


And now, the joy of our Lord becomes our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)


There is no willing of joy. We can’t make a wish and have it appear, or clench our fists and squeeze our eyes tight enough to call it forth.


It’s here, in a quiet meeting between Father and child, where exhaled breath from a weary soul seeks God’s grace and presence, and where surrender and obedience are joyfully laid bare.


Joy is a leaping in our soul because of all he is, and the promises he’s made – not because we’ve made it so.


photo: Raye Wortel

photo: Raye Wortel

So may we understand this Christmas that joy – lasting joy, is a cause of Jesus. Luke 2:10 says, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”


Jesus is the source and server of our joy. Through our faith and obedience in him, we can come to Heaven’s idea of happiness, slick with hope and peace.


May you receive the oil of joy this Christmas.

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