I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. Psalm 9:2
Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Luke 1:46–47
One of my favorite groups is Glad. Their Christmas CD is old, but beautifully produced and a joy to re-discover each Christmas. The word “glad” is found 147 times in the ESV according to a quick search in Bible Gateway. The psalms has the most incidents of the word, with the word is found 43 times. Acts (the most in the New Testament) has 6 occurrences.
Zechariah is told that the birth of John, his son, would cause him to be glad. When the Magi saw the star after their visit with Herod, however, they were not merely glad, they were filled with joy.
Joy and gladness are sister and brother. In fact it seems to be a nuance of joy, and some of the Greek lexicons translate ἀγαλλίασις as joy as often as they do gladness. The Psalmist speaks of gladness and joy in the name of God. God’s identity is a source of joy for he is the God of salvation.
Mary echos that sentiment when she has received the message from the angel that she would be the mother of Jesus, the One who would save his people from their sins. She rejoices in God her Savior.
There are many things that bring me joy these days. The beautiful lights of Christmas. The joy and happiness of boys and girls at the Birthday Party For Jesus at our church’s Early Childhood Center. The delightful music of the season. The pure message of God’s love in the Savior’s birth.
There are other lesser things that can bring joy as well. A new wardrobe. A excellent meal. A new camera. A chance meeting with a good friend. These are all reflections of the greatest joy of God’s love and salvation finding its place in your heart.
There is one more place joy is found. According to Jesus himself there is joy in the presence of the angels when one sinner repents. So I bookend this post with another oldie but goodie Christian song: His Favorite Song of All, by Phillips, Craig, and Dean.