Many of us grew up or engaged children with the simple camp song that begins, “If you’re happy and you know it….” Each verse began the same way, with the variation coming from the response. Clap your hands. Stomp your feet. The list goes on. Sometimes, you might have gotten creative and added your own instructions to demonstrate your proclaimed happiness.
What if we changed the lyrics to reflect our call to be Advent people—in other words, people of expectation of hope, peace, joy, and love in the world. How might those responses go?
Praise the Lord!
Feed the poor!
Care for friends!
That song seems to be about temporary happiness and how to show it, but the psalmist seems to be talking about real joy. That is more than a feeling, that happiness is itself a response to the goodness of God, to the presence of God, to the way of God. It’s good to be happy, it’s better to have joy. As the old saying goes, “This joy…the world didn’t give…and the world can’t take it away!” That’s the joy of the Lord. That is my wish for us all.
Let us encourage one another. Let us love our neighbor. Let us be the church.