CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Sometimes I get so caught up in the demands of everyday life that I miss the joy of spending time with my loved ones. But I can remedy that almost immediately by making time to interact with the people in my life. As we share the simplest daily activities like running errands together, watching a movie or taking a long walk, I am grateful for each gift of joy. Yet I know these joyful moments are fleeting.How can one attain lasting joy?If you really want the answer to this question, just observe a young child for a while. Children don't even have to think about it. They get up each morning happy and excited about what will happen today. What's more, most of them are enthusiastic about learning new things.Wouldn't it be wonderful if adults were equally as excited about learning and experiencing new things? But the majority of us have become indifferent about the events life holds for us each day. We get up every morning and go through our daily routine without any real emotion -- unless someone cuts us off in traffic, that is. Unlike children, we are fairly certain we won't be learning anything new and exciting during our ordinary day, so we don't expect it.
Perhaps that's the key: learning to live with the expectation that something new and fascinating will happen each and every day. If only we could look at the world through childlike eyes and see things based on truth rather than appearances and remain open to life's lessons as we gain a new level of understanding and awareness.Or perhaps it's as a friend tells me, "I carry the joy of the Lord into everything I do," she says. "Whatever I'm doing, I'm happy in it.""To moan and complain is useless," she adds. "And gloomy thoughts chip away at the vitality of the soul."Living in an awareness of God, as my friend surely does, fills us with self-assurance. Knowing we're never alone; knowing that our body is a temple filled with pure energy and healing life and trusting our faith in God, we move confidently forward in that faith. And we are joyful.God wants us to be happy, and He makes it possible. However, it is impossible to experience real joy unless you have invited the King of Joy, Jesus, to come into your life.There is no peace in the heart of the transgressor and no joy in his soul.But when we are baptized into His Spirit, evil loses its power to destroy us, darkness is dispelled and the broken spirit healed. Joy soothes the soul and lifts the burden from the grieving heart. The Spirit rejoices within you.This is the joy we were promised -- the greatest joy that can come to the human heart -- for it is the everlasting joy of God.Horton is a writer who lives in Nitro and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.