From a Grateful Heart Comes…Joy

From a Grateful Heart Comes…Joy

I want to be a joyful person, and I’m not really sure I always am—yet. Now, I’m positive (all of the time), I’m happy (most of the time), and I’m a glass half-full kind of gal. But joyful? I wonder....

I’ve been preparing to speak at an Advent Dinner on the topic of joy, so I’ve been thinking a lot about it. As I study, I am convinced that joy is a choice, which seems untrue because I have always associated joy with emotion, but I now realize happiness is the emotion and it doesn’t automatically lead to joy.

What’s interesting is that happy comes from the Latin word hap, which means chance. In other words, happiness is based on circumstances. Given this truth, it’s too risky to base my wellbeing just on chance. That’s why joy is different. Joy comes from the Greek word chara, and interestingly, the root of this word, char, is also the root of the words for both grace (charis) and gratitude (eucharistia). They are all closely related. After thinking more deeply about this, I’ve started to see a pattern:

  • Gratitude follows grace, and joy follows gratitude.
  • The greater the grace, the greater the gratitude.
  • The greater the gratitude, the greater the joy.

Therefore, if I want to be a joyful person, my choice starts in the way every life-giving behavior starts, which is by being rooted in the grace of Jesus Christ.

Thinking back, some of my most joyful moments came as I gained comprehension of what Christ did for me, so I’ve seen this pattern unfold in my own life and my understanding has made me grateful to Jesus:

  • The more I understand, the more grateful I am.
  • The more grateful, the more joy I experience.

Joy comes from a grateful heart and is the residual effect of being thankful for everything God has done for us.

Today is Thanksgiving, a day in the United States that we set aside to being mindful of being thankful. Even if you are outside this country, it is still the perfect day to start cultivating a grateful heart. Start by thanking God for the many blessings He has given to all of us. Express your gratitude until it bubbles over into joy!

From a grateful heart, comes joy, and so let’s become joyful by being grateful first.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Juli Camarin &


Juli Camarin

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