“Gladness of heart is the life of man, and the rejoicing of a man is length of days” (Ecclesiasticus).

ONE OF LIFE’S MOST DELIGHTFUL EXPERIENCES IS DEALING WITH PEOPLE WHO DO A LOT OF REJOICING. There are plenty of things to grieve about, certainly, and the sorrowful side of life needs to be given more attention than we sometimes give it. But there is also much to be glad about. We don’t do this world justice if we don’t recognize its joys and appreciate the grace they represent. People who do appreciate life’s grace are refreshing to relate to. Their habit of rejoicing restores our sense of wholesome balance and proportion.

It’s a well documented fact that rejoicing is conducive to better health. A merry heart really does make for a long life, and that fact ought to tell us something about our nature. We were built for joy. Our minds and bodies were designed to run on the fuel of gladness, and while we have an amazing capacity to endure grief, that capacity is not unlimited. When we do not rejoice, death hastens toward us.

Rejoicing is one of the best ways in which we can honor other people. If, despite the sadness in my life, I choose to relate to you in a joyful, encouraging way, then by that choice I have said, “I care enough about you to try to maintain a healthy perspective on life. For your sake, I am willing to see the good as well as the bad.”

Rejoicing is, after all, as much a matter of choice as it is a matter of mood. We are not merely helpless victims of our feelings. Confronted with grievous circumstances, we can consciously choose to take a broader perspective. We have a will that is free, and we can determine to live our lives rather than simply let them “be lived” for us.

Most of us miss a good many opportunities to rejoice. Failing to count our blessings, we become blind to everything except our problems. We focus so single-mindedly on certain kinds of emptiness that we forget how full we are in other ways. Whatever heartaches we may have, our heartaches are hardly ever the whole story, and if our priorities are what they ought to be, then it will be no exaggeration to say that “our cup runs over.” Today, let’s not miss the joy of rejoicing.

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those things which he has” (Epictetus).

Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com

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