At first sight, joy seems to be connected with being different. When you receive a compliment or win an award, you experience the joy of not being the same as others. You are faster, smarter, more beautiful, and it is that difference that brings you joy. But such joy is very temporary. True joy is hidden where we are the same as other people: fragile and mortal. It is the joy of belonging to the human race. It is the joy of being with others as a friend, a companion, a fellow traveler.This is the joy I was thinking about in my last post: the joy that the Holy Spirit brings to the hearts of us fragile, mortal people is precisely the "joy of Jesus, who is Emmanuel." As Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians, "I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love." (Ephesians 3.16-17)
This is the joy of Jesus, who is Emmanuel: God-with-us.
Henri Nouwen, from Bread for the Journey