Mar 02, 2018
JOY. Just typing the word brings a smile to my face. It’s a triumphant word, one that could be described as pure delight and perfect comfort.
What brings you joy?
Here are a few that made my list: Traveling somewhere for the first time… reuniting with friends… gazing up at the twinkling night sky… the promise of a brand new day, new friendship, or new beginning. It’s in these moments of gladness that joy captures my heart and all seems right in the world.
Sadly, though, you and I have lived enough life to know that these moments eventually fade. It doesn’t take long to experience moments of joy turning to sorrow. Maybe you took a new job and the transition is difficult. Perhaps a loved one died and you didn’t even get to say goodbye. Maybe your once healthy body is now burdened with disease and pain. Are finances tight? Have you laid awake at night, feeling crushed by pain and sorrow? Have you woken up in the morning with a tear-stained face, crying for people who are hurting, who are lonely, who feel hopeless, who feel unloved?
So when the joy dries up, or maybe even disappears completely for a season, what are we to do? How do we go on?
Dear heart… there’s a joy that never fades, that stands through the ages. Joy that doesn’t depend on our circumstances, that laughs in the face of the evil one. It’s the anchor for our souls and the strength of our hearts.
5 Ways to Experience Easter Joy All Year Long
Easter joy. Eternal, lovely, victorious joy. Present during that glorious first Easter morning, when the rising sun revealed the empty tomb and proclaimed to nature and all of humanity that death has been swallowed up forever. And present now. Jesus Himself is our joy.
And so how do we celebrate Easter all year long? How do we experience joy found in our risen Lord rather than in the circumstances of our days?
Wait expectantly. Jesus is coming back again. He’ll be here soon to take us home with Him; His Word promises that.
- Take a breath. This world is dark, but heaven is coming.
- Instead of rushing into something, pray about it first. Then watch God work.
- Seek to gain a heavenly perspective on each earthly circumstance weighing you down.
Praise exultantly. Our Savior lives; the victory is won! The tomb is empty, just as He said. He is worthy of our praise!
- Listen to KLOVE (105.3) while you drive, and just maybe, sing or shout along.
- Devote time each day in conversation with God through prayer. Talk to Him. Be quiet and listen to Him.
- Find a Bible reading plan through an app or devotional.
- Schedule a time to meet with a friend and dig into His word together.
Serve gladly. God has set us free and empowered us with His Holy Spirit. He reminds us in Galatians 5:13 to “not use our freedom to indulge the flesh; rather serve one another humbly in love.”
- Visit a nursing home with kids often enough to build relationships with residents. Ask them questions about their childhood, jobs, etc. Ask their favorite Bible stories and share yours.
- Check in on your family and friends. Call your parents and see what they need. Reach out to your siblings and cousins. Go sit with your aging grandma and memorize her chocolate chip cookie recipe.
- Serve through your church with your kids. Want to point others to Jesus? Serve through your church. Want to meet human need, whether it be local or on the other side of the globe? Serve through your church. To see a list of the current serving opportunities through HCL, click here.
Give generously. Our Lord delights when His children love Him and love others. When we love our neighbors as ourselves, we have opportunity to share Easter joy with each other.
- Invite people to come to church.
- Talk with a friend who’s hurt after he/she made a bad decision.
- Provide sympathy and encouragement.
Grieve hopefully. Grief hurts and it’s a horrible, unwanted journey. Cry until you can’t cry anymore… but don’t ever forget what Easter means. Death does not win.
Are you grieving?
- When you’re sad and missing your loved one, think of heaven.
- Join a grief share group; the Christ-centered curriculum reminds you why mourning and joy can exist together.
Do you know somebody who’s grieving?
- Sit with them. Bring them dinner. Share stories of their loved one. Invite them on adventures. Get them to laugh. And never stop reminding them of eternal life in Jesus.
Worship With Us
Jesus’ empty tomb produces a lasting joy and victory unshakable by the temporary circumstances and struggles of this world. Easter changes everything, come and celebrate the resurrection of our Lord with us at our Holy Week and Easter worship services at our Janesville Road campus:
Palm Sunday, March 25 - 7:45, 9:15, 11:00am and 5:00pm
Maundy Thursday, March 29 - 3:45 and 6:30pm
Good Friday, March 30 - 12:30, 6:30 and 8:00pm
Saturday, March 31 - 5:30pm
Sunday, April 1 - 6:00, 7:45, 9:15 and 11:00am (no evening worship)
Wednesday, April 4 - 6:30pm
May you look to our risen Lord for true joy: joy that fills you, sustains you, and equips you for the days ahead. Jesus is joy; true, unending Easter joy.
About the Author
Rachel Stathakis serves as the Director of Children's Ministries at Hales Corners Lutheran Church, where she and her team get to do what they love: connect children and their families to Jesus.
When Rachel is away from her desk, she loves to travel to new places, explore Milwaukee, and learn guitar. She's happiest when she's surrounded by friends, when her car is clean, when the sun is shining, and when she looks to Jesus for real joy.