Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Journey into Joy, #2

Tuesday morning's fish wrap informed me that TBS's coverage of the National League Championship Series between the Rockies and D-backs produced the three lowest-rated, prime time games in the history of Major League Baseball playoff broadcasts.

Might the fact that the games' start times were after 10:00 p.m. on the East Coast have a little something to do with that?

The marketing gurus with MLB, under the auspices of one Bud Selig, seem to have an uncanny knack at making the worst choice possible their primary target. Is MLB intentionally trying to alienate an entire generation of future fans with playoff games that end after midnight in two time zones?

Look, living in the Pacific Time zone is awesome as a sports fan! Sleep deprivation due to sports viewing is simply never an issue out here in California. But it is an issue back east and MLB better be careful not to kill the goose that lays their golden eggs.


Here's the thing about joy -- the thing that is so obvious, yet so difficult to apply in the midst of less-than-ideal circumstances.

Joy is birthed by thanksgiving.

Let that sink really deep into your heart and mind. Joy, that abiding sense of satisfaction that exists separate-and-apart from the circumstances of life, is born from a heart full of thanksgiving.

I went back and studied the etymology of the Greek word chara, translated "joy." Chara is the root word for charis that means "grace." When one is a recipient of God's charis (grace), then chara (joy) is the natural product.

Chara (joy) is also connected etymologically to a couple of other significant words. In Greek, chara is linked together with eucharisteo which means "to give thanks." In Latin, the word for joy is linked with gratia -- from which we get the English word grace -- and means "thanksgiving."

So, all that etymology to simply say that achieving or attaining the joy Paul speaks of in Philippians is born by receiving God's grace and living in thanksgiving to God for his blessings. Joy is birthed by thanksgiving and when thanksgiving is lacking, so too is our joy.

Has your joy been lacking? Perhaps it is symptomatic of a neglect to thank God for his gracious blessing in your life. Praising him for his grace and thanking him for his blessings are the first step on the journey to joy. Why not find some time today, in a quiet place, to remember God's blessings past and thank him for his grace. That very moment will launch you on your journey to joy, that exuberant delight born of thanksgiving for God's grace that exists independent of any and all circumstances in your life.