“Happy New Year!” In English, this is the standard way of expressing good wishes for the year to come. It is easy to use and sounds right because we are so used to this expression. But lets pause for a moment, and really think about the meaning of the words.

Happiness is caused by earthly experiences and material things – it is dependent on circumstances, and usually is quite temporary (from Diffen). It is a good wish – we do certainly want our loved ones to have things and experiences that make them happy. But isn’t there more to life than external, worldly factors influencing our mood? What happens when everything doesn’t work out like we wanted, when there no longer is any reason to be happy?

Joy seems to me a step beyond happiness. Happiness is a sort of atmosphere you can live in sometimes when you’re lucky. Joy is a light that fills you with hope and faith and love.
– Adela Rogers St. Johns (from Optimize)

Joy is a lasting inward peace and contentment (from Diffen). That sounds to me like a much more worthwhile goal to pursue. But how can we get there?

Life need not be easy to be joyful. Joy is not the absence of trouble but the presence of Christ.
– William Van der Hoven (from Beliefnet)

The presence of Christ is what makes all the difference! If we walk in a relationship with Him, filled with the Holy Spirit, then joy is one of the natural results.

Galatians 5:22-23 (WEBBE): 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Romans 14:17 (WEBBE): 17for God’s Kingdom is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

So my wish for you for the new year is this one:

Romans 15:13 (WEBBE): 13Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

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