“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” — John 15:11-12
“There is nothing so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor,” says Charles Dickens in his novel A Christmas Carol. Studies of the human brain show that laughter is contagious. Sometimes laughter is used to hurt others or to mask our hidden fears and insecurities, but sincere and joyful laughter is a gift. When a toddler’s whole body shakes while laughing at a dog chasing its tail, or when friends cry tears of joy remembering good times spent together, these are beautiful gifts God gives us to experience his goodness.
And while laughter is a spontaneous expression of joy, the overflowing outward expression of true joy in Christ is continuous love for one another. Through the suffering and sacrifice of Christ, God gave us an expression of his greatest love. And when the joy of forgiveness and new life fills our souls, it extends to others the gift of love, showing forgiveness and grace. Inner joy and inner peace go hand in hand, welcoming and embracing others in order to share the good news of Jesus.
Someone once gave me a poster that said, “The love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay. Love isn’t love until you give it away.” May the joy of Christ in you overflow with love to others today.
Loving God, you fill us with your love, bringing joy and peace. May our love for others be an overflowing expression of the love you give to us. In Christ, Amen.