It was one if those scenes that makes you do a double take. I was dropping Anna off at preschool a few weeks ago and we saw this:
The roads in the area had been under construction for many days because of water company work, and you never knew which sections of road would be blocked off on any given day – filling me and my fellow preschool parents with a load of frustration.
But in the midst of the frustration, came a very welcome humor-break. There was so much water gushing out of that spout it would have filled and overflowed the bucket underneath it in less than two seconds! I’m sure there was a scientific purpose behind it all, but Anna and I sure had a good laugh.
The holiday season is coming to a close. The lights, carols, gifts, and gatherings have stirred up many warm feelings of gladness. But very soon we’ll pack away the festive decorations, say goodbye to 24-7 Christmas music, and pick through those last few leftover cookies and treats. The parties and events we’ve put so much energy and time into preparing for have come and gone and we’ll settle back into the routines of ‘normal’ life.
For many of us, this time of year brings with it some serious letdown. The joy we were so recently brimming with now seems to be in short supply. Even those of us who focus the majority of our Christmas energy on the real “reason” for the season experience a sense of emptiness after the intensity of the advent season fades.
But for God, joy is never in short supply. As the very creator of joy, He is so filled with it that He never experiences a letdown. He rejoices in His creation, delights in His children and finds “infinite zeal and joy and pleasure…in his own worth and glory.” (John Piper) The joy of the Lord is a fixed, permanent, never-changing, never-emptying stream that He is gushing into our buckets.
Unfortunately, if you’re like me, instead of just setting my bucket underneath that stream, I waste a whole lot of time looking for trickles from other faucets. The promises of seasonal gladness and temporary warm feelings sell themselves as “joy”, but the few drops of happiness they release just end up leaking out somehow.
Psalm 4:7 says, “You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and wine abound.” Jesus didn’t come so that we could remember Him by throwing a great party once a year – He came to pour out on us a joy beyond all joys. He came to “save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21) so that we could experience the every day, every moment, eternal kind of joy a relationship with God brings. Because it’s only in His presence that “there is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11).
When we sang this chorus in church on Christmas Eve, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the construction scene I saw a few weeks ago:
“Joy, unspeakable joy,
An overflowing well,
No tongue can tell.
Joy, unspeakable joy,
Rises in my soul,
Never lets me go.”*
Although the Christmas season is a great reminder of the joy of our salvation, that same joy is meant to be ours all year long. Every day can become a celebration of the gift God gave us in Jesus and a victory party for the way He has rescued and restored us to Himself. “The contemplation of God to one who knows that this God is his God for ever and ever, is enough to make the eyes overflow with tears, because of the deep, mysterious, unutterable bliss which fills the heart.” (Charles Spurgeon)
Regardless of the season, through the constant changes in circumstance, and in the rolling waves of emotion – “unutterable bliss” is mine for the taking. And the crazy thing is that if I’m positioned to simply receive the outpouring of this joy, my bucket will not only be continuously full, but it will also be continuously overflowing to the world around me – so that others might also become receivers of the gushing waters of unspeakable joy.
*Chris Tomlin, “Joy to the World (Unspeakable Joy)“