What Makes Us Happy

Joy graphicFrom a rickshaw puller navigating through the streets of Calcutta, to a devastated and displaced family in a Sudanese refuge camp in Sothern Sudan; from the affluent on most expensive street in the world-5th avenue, to a single mom working two jobs; from a college student graduating to the next stage of life, to an old person graduating to the last stage of life…. we all pursue happiness.

There is even growing research on the science of happiness. Our nation sees this pursuit as a foundation of morality, as an “unalienable right.”

Happiness and joy are innate — they are part of the human experience.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to be happy, what I do see is that for most of us it is based on circumstances, perceptions, expectations, or conditions.

But what I’ve seen is that people can be happy despite the darkest pain or the highest pleasure.

The prophet Zechariah was a prophet from 520 BC to 518 BC in Jerusalem, about 2500 years ago. During that time many Jews were returning from the Babylonian Captivity to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple, which had been destroyed by the Babylonians. As with many of the prophets, Zechariah was speaking to a seemingly hopeless situation. A time when despite a glimmer hope for those returning to their homeland and the promises of God, the world was upside down, broken, and there was no joy to be had. Yet Zechariah wrote these words:

Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!
    Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
    righteous and having salvation,
    gentle and riding on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Zechariah had little to no reason to believe that. Yet he urges the people to rejoice and worship, or, SCREAM and SHOUT people….

Why? Because their king is coming… a king unlike the evil, selfish, sinful and ruthless kings that they have experienced. This king will do right, make things right, and restore all that is wrong. This king has come for them personally. Not for his own power or gain, but gentle and humble. Your king is compassionate because he knows hurt, pain, and betrayal. Even though he is a king, he is on your level and knows you personally.

You and I can rejoice because Jesus our King has come! When you have Jesus you have happiness and joy. Despite the circumstances of life when we turn to Jesus we find joy.