Joy is Internal
Optional Scripture: Isaiah 35:1-10 (lectionary text)
Luke 1:14 “You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.”
Nine years ago I picked up a Compassion child sponsorship packet from a table that was set up in the hallway of our church. Little did I know at that time, the joy that this decision would bring into my life.
The child that I selected to sponsor was a little five year old boy named Esvin from Guatemala. We began our correspondence with me writing letters and him drawing pictures. As he grew older he began writing his own letters. Over the years we have shared photos and prayer request through our correspondence.
This past July I had the opportunity to go to Guatemala. I traveled with fifty other Compassion International sponsors that had children in Guatemala. We visited five child development centers that were housed in local churches. In these centers we led Vacation Bible School-type activities. We were also able to make home visits and help out with chores which allowed us to enter into their world.
On the last day of our trip we were able to meet and spend half the day with our sponsored children at a “Fun Center”. Esvin, (now 14) as well as many other sponsored children traveled a long way on school buses to meet us. This was a very special and emotional time for all of us.
The people in Guatemala live very simple lifestyles. Most of their meals consisted of nothing but flour tortillas and their houses were only a small room that served as the kitchen and bedroom for the whole family. Even though their lifestyles are simple, these people were filled with much gratitude and joy. Many people think joy is external, based on their circumstances. This trip was a great reminder that joy is not external, but internal and that we can make a choice to praise God in all things. Scripture calls us to be joyful, not because of what we have in our possessions, but what we have in Christ. During the next few days may we have joy and gladness, and rejoice because of the birth and life of Jesus!