It is difficult to think of innocence apart from joyousness. The little child, nurtured under the gentle care of a mother's love, innocent of evil's ways, is often the very embodiment of joyousness. In his fearlessness he greets you with a happy smile, becomes friendly with you before you are aware of it, and would have you enter with him at once into the joy, aye, the mirth of living, care-free as he, trustful as he, loving as he. The innocence of childhood which Jesus set as an example in the midst of those who disputed among themselves over precedence, displays itself in many ways, in ways of purity, simplicity, gentleness; and through all these graces there ever ripples the music of its laughter, sometimes low, sometimes exuberant, always aglow with the reflected love of Love.

The Bible contains many a reference to joy and joyousness. The New Testament bears record of the extent to which these experiences of happiness were alluded to in early Christian times. Did not Christ Jesus once say to his disciples, "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full;" and on another occasion, "Your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you"? The comfort he gave them in the truth he imparted, was to bring them the joy that was his, the joy which they could not lose. Was it not Peter, in that great sermon of his on the day of Pentecost, who testified, "Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance"? And Paul, ever progressing even amid the most adverse circumstances, from a full heart could say to the Romans, "We also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ," and could remind the Galatians that joy was one of the fruits of the Spirit. Is it possible to think of any one of these pioneers of Christianity without feeling that the joy which was theirs because of the spiritual understanding they possessed, must have been constantly coming to the surface in the smile and in happy laughter?

Among the Churches
January 27, 1923

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