Christmas: Happiness vs Joy

I like a point which was discussed about happiness vs joy during tonight’s Christmas gathering. After pondering back several answers feedback by some, here are my thoughts:

I know the two words are created by men but you can use different words like joy vs true/pure joy. Regardless of what choice of words you can come out with, these two words are just used here to differentiate these two similar emotions in a deeper level of perspectives.

These are few verses from the bible can provide the meaning of these two similar emotions pretty accurately:

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal – 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18

So what are some examples of something you can see. You can use this keywords like external, physical, material things. Examples, car, house, money, promotion, status, title, qualifications, career and etc.

What about the unseen things? Examples, you found the meaning and purpose of life, you found your goal or dreams what you want to do, be or achieve, you found your spiritual faith/belief, you gain new friendship, you feel that you have improved in your knowledge, skill and experience in certain area, you manage to give up certain bad habits, the sincere kindness you shown to people, you feel that you have grown in your spiritual maturity, you encourage someone who needed the most and etc.


More examples:

  • A clown looks like he has happiness because he always smile, laugh and make others smile and laugh. But he might not have joy from the inside. After he back home, he actually very depressed about this life.
  • Mr A is happy because he got a bonus and increment. But Mr A might not have joy if he is still complaining how little bonus he got compare to others. But he could also have the joy if he sees that he has grown in his knowledge, skill and experience he gained this year.
  • Miss A is happy because she receives an expensive gift. But Miss A might not be happy because that gift is just another gift in her collection. Miss B is happy and joyful when she receives a gift from her husband. Even though that gift is inexpensive for her, Miss B understands that her husband has chosen the exact design she likes which shown that her husband is observant to her and more touched when she realizes that he has saved up for some time to buy that gift.

Personally, I think this is the year which I give the least Christmas gifts. Partly this is because I am giving much priority towards things like job-searching. Then another incident which make me reflect more about Christmas is when someone in the online forum shared that his church disallow Christmas celebration because it is man-made. As I thought through, yeah, I think all these years I have been entangled by this man-made universal Christmas tradition – give and receive gifts. Yes, I should have think more and plan what to give to appreciate them especially my parents and my close friends in the church, but the positive side is I have a deeper reflection on the true meaning and true joy of Christmas this year besides knowing the fact that Jesus born as my Savior of course 🙂

So, in this Christmas, do you encounter/gain more happiness (i.e. receives much gifts) or more joy? Sometimes it is easily for us to get carried away by certain man-made traditions like Santa Clause, being too busy to shop and wrap gifts during Christmas. It is actually good to do so but when we do it with pressure and do just for the sake of it or out of guilt, then maybe it is time to reflect deeper the true meaning of Christmas and what “joy” is all about.

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