I was trying to think of a concrete way to demonstrate the difference between 'joy' and 'happiness' to my friends - a Sunday-school class of intellectually-disabled adults. I was going to use the scripture
If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love;
just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.
These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you,
and that your joy may be made full.
This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.
(John 15: 10-12).
We were going to talk about things that made us happy - and I was going to try to direct them to understand that happiness is from happenstance - in-the-moment and fleeting. Sparkly. But joy, joy comes from deep inside. Joy comes from the knowledge that God loves us, that Jesus died for us, that we are valued. It allows us to turn out and value others, to survive difficulties, to choose blessing over insult, and peace over distress. Joy is of the Kingdom. Happiness comes from the world.
But these words would only mean something if I could show these friends somehow. Friends like my daughter with Down Syndrome, like the young man with Fragile X, the woman with William's, the couple without anything at all except differently-abled intellect that puts them on the fringes of capability.
So I thought. And I found something in my daughter's craft box. Glitter. And glue. And the idea came to me... Show them glitter (happiness) on a paper without the glue. Demonstrate as we discuss what makes us happy. Lift the paper to admire and allow the glitter to fall off - like happiness - fleeting - nice in the moment, but temporary. Then apply the glue. Talk about the passage. What was Jesus's commandments? To love one another just as He loved them. How do they do this in their lives? Sprinkle on the glitter as we talk about the result of loving one another - how it looks and how it feels to respect others and be respected. Explain that the glue is the difference. The glue is Jesus. Joy doesn't happen without Him. Then hold it up again to see...
Hopefully the glitter will stay on.
Linking today with 5-Minute Friday