We all know about the American dream. I mean, don’t we? What is it? In the Declaration of Independence, it says that Americans have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Immigrants But what is the pursuit of happiness? Is it fame, wealth, or material possessions? We’ve seen so many celebrities with all these things. So many of them seem to be profoundly unhappy. They put on a mask that everything is going well for the public, but then so many have substance abuse problems, divorce, meltdowns, outbursts, etc. So what is happiness?
The phrase “pursuit of happiness” to me is a misguided pursuit that ends in heartbreak. Happiness is a temporary emotion that comes and goes whether we are rich, famous, or whatever else the world says should make us happy. What I think we should pursue is joy, which is the lasting sense of peace, fulfillment, and anticipation of greater things to come. True joy can only be achieved with Christ.
Christ is the only one who can fill our void. He is the only one that can give us lasting joy. Although, on this earth, we will never have perfect joy always. In heaven, for eternity, our joy shall be realized. If we can keep our eyes on God, remembering that our life on earth is a speck of time compared to the joy of eternity, we can bare through the struggles of life and give others hope of a better life to come as well.
So as we go into this Christmas season remember not to focus on the commercialism and earthly possessions that will not last. Rather, focus on the hope of Jesus coming to save us, and the joy he gave us by forgiving us and giving us eternal life.
(originally published in the newspaper The Post Dispatch on 12/10/19)