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I contemplated for awhile how to share with you my heart of true joy, and where for me it lies.  Happiness is a beautiful gift that is present in my life for moments, but the gift of joy, as a contrast for me, can run deep and steady — breathing peaceful reminders of hope when the days are dark, and sharing a smile of fathomless praise during moments of goodness to celebrate.  I found it hard to find the words to share with you, and then this morning I thought of the lyrics to this favorite hymn.  If you have the time today, read each line slowly, and take a moment to let the lyrics penetrate your heart.  You might be sitting on a mountaintop, feeling the sun on your face, or you might be in a valley alone looking for light and direction.

My friend, joy is here.

“Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee,
Opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day!

All Thy works with joy surround Thee,
Earth and heaven reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee,
Center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
Flowery meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain
Call us to rejoice in Thee.

Thou art giving and forgiving,
Ever blessing, ever blessed,
Wellspring of the joy of living,
Ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our father, Christ our brother,
All who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other,
Lift us to the joy divine.

Mortals, join the happy chorus,
Which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o’er us,
Brother love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward,
Victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us sunward
In the triumph song of life.”

-Henry J. Van Dyke

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