Shout for JOY to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs. — Psalm 100:1-2
I had the privilege the last 38 years of my teaching career to teach at a Christian school in Edmond in the Kindergarten and Pre-K Departments. During my tenure, teachers took turns teaching a lesson in our weekly Elementary Chapel for our Pre-K through 5th-grade students.
I titled mine “Recipe for Joy.” I dressed up as a chef and brought my mixing bowl and spatula. I wrote scriptures about joy on 3×5 cards, folded them, and put them in my mixing bowl. Several selected students came up and stirred my mixing bowl full of JOY. As each student stirred and then pulled a card out, it was read and then discussed. These are some of the scriptures I used:
- The joy of the Lord is my strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)
- Let the fields be jubilant and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for JOY. (Psalm 97:11)
- You clothed me with JOY that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. (Psalm 30:11)
- A cheerful look brings JOY to the heart. (Proverbs 15:30)
- You will go out in JOY and be led forth in peace. (Isaiah 55:12)
- I have told you this so that my JOY may be in you and that your JOY may be complete. (John 15:11)
Just a week later, our principal asked us to write a Class Creed that we could use for our opening each day. I decided to use JOY! “JESUS first, OTHERS second, YOURSELF last” became our Class Creed, and it soon became the department’s creed. It was such a JOY for me to share this with my teacher friends. My class also said this poem each morning which was simple but meaningful:
Jesus, and others, and you. What a wonderful way to spell JOY!
Jesus and others and you, the heart of each girl and boy.
J is for Jesus for He has first place.
O is for others we meet face to face.
Y is for you and in all that you do; put yourself last and spell JOY!
How can you cultivate JOY today? Maybe you could give a word or note of encouragement, a hug, a smile, be a good listener, or simply be prayerful for the needs of others.
Jesus, spark JOY in us today as we look to you for our hope and peace.