“Joy is the lantern that lights the way through the dark times and the motivator propelling us toward dreams.” (Moss)

Carols are playing in the background of pre-Christmas festivities.

The tree that stands so proudly in front of me is gaily lit with the brightest of lights and adorned with decorations the children made, or we bought because they held a special meaning. By the time you read this, Christmas day will be in the history books, and the New Year will not have made its way into the present. That’s the life of a writer. We often live in the past, present, and future simultaneously.

The Christmas season has had me thinking about what it is to feel joy and be joyful.
The kind of joy that makes your heart feel like it’s Christmas every day.

The kind that curls your toes or, at other times, sneaks up on you…

and gently cascades down over you.

I asked random people a few joy questions. Here are some highlights from all over the world:

What does it mean to feel joyful? 

Feeling joyful is being optimistic: If you want to be in a state of joy, you must look for opportunities and positively believe and feel that you can achieve what you want out of life. 

Joy is movement unbound. 

Sometimes, it’s a warmth that fills you. Sometimes it’s just a smile. Sometimes, it’s a sense of relief. Sometimes it’s just a quiet nod.

Being happy, knowing that every challenging phase will pass in time. 

Joy makes my heart sing.

Why should we collect our joys, and how?

Gratitude jars, journals, and being kind. It’s infinitely infectious.

Joy makes us feel resilient. The most joyful people are resilient, and the most resilient are joyful. 

I thread through my day a list of things that make me joyful. 

Feeling joyful brings positive energy, making the world seem brighter, even magical.

Joy is what allows me to enjoy life. Joy is hope.

I blog about the beautiful things I have let go of, but I remember the joy they brought me.

It keeps lifting me and keeps me believing.

What brings you joy?

Coffee, walks in nature, talking with family and friends.

Showing kindness every day.

Joy and prayer. Knowing God is more powerful than any challenge.

When a family gathers for a funeral, there are often laughs, too, because sharing those joyful memories help us get through the sorrowful moments.

A paid bill. 

Cuddling with my puppy. Watching a sunset. Remembering a sunrise.

Every morning, I wake up and know that I control my life.

I was joyful about this experience because it confirmed that joy doesn’t have to be extravagant and that there’s an inherent aspect of joy. It waits to be experienced. When we collect our joys, we have them for those times when life is challenging. They get us to the better days, and there will be better days.

Joy doesn’t just happen. We have to choose it.