Around Christmastime, we hear a lot about joy in songs, in Christmas cards and in church services (remember those?). What is joy? Is it like in this song?
I have to admit, this song brought me a great deal of happiness in 1970. I wore out two vinyl 45s of it (well polystyrene actually). It's one of my three favorite songs of all time (along with Hey Jude and Here Comes the Sun). But the definition of Joy online is somewhat circular. Maybe we should look at what joy isn't: The opposite of joy isn't sorrow or sadness. The opposite of joy is fear.
So those songs didn't bring me joy directly, they merely distracted me from my fears for the few minutes that it took to hear them. I think the Abbey Road version of Here Comes the Sun is musical perfection itself, and that does make me happy, masking fear and leaving joy for a few minutes.
Think about the things in life that gave you the most joy: Learning that you or a loved one had beaten cancer or some other terrible ordeal. Or that you were not going to be laid off. Or that you passed chemistry, and you could graduate after all. Or that she said, "yes" instead of "no" when you asked her to marry you. The joy comes from the removal of fear.
Two of the most joyous stories in history -- of lasting joy -- are the story of Christmas, and the story of liberty and freedom. I'll be discussing those in Joy To The World -- Part 1 and Joy To The World -- Part 2. Stay tuned.