Begin the year with joy. Find some or create some. When you create joy for others you create joy for yourself. Today’s episode shows how.

Hello everyone and welcome to episode 86 and the start of Season 5 of our podcast.

We said goodbye to 2020 in last week’s episode with the thought that even in difficult circumstances there is always joy to be found if we look hard enough. I gave two examples of finding joy in difficult circumstances.

Starting today, let’s begin the year with joy. To do so I share several examples of finding joy in more positive contexts, like now, at the beginning of a new year. Not much has gone wrong yet. At least at the time of this recording.

I hope the several stories I share will inspire you to either find joy, or create some yourself if you come up empty. I’ll explain how, so listen in.

The first example that begins the year with joy

Christmas card from ECFA (Evangelical Child and Family Agency) “ECFA has chosen joy amidst this pandemic.” I love the bold strength. It brings me joy to see this.

Humor is a place where we often find joy
  • For me, joy is often found in humor. In episode 80, A Christmas Gift of Silence on December 2nd. I mentioned ending the podcast with Marcel Marceau singing “his rendition of Silent Night.” 23 seconds of no sound, because Marcel Marceau was a mime
  • My friend Larry’s response about Marcel Marceau and the context of Zechariah’s 9 months of silence
  • Another listener’s comment about appreciating Marcel Marceau
  • The Who Gets You? episode, no 81, “A Christmas Gift of Connection” elected a comment from Brad, a listener from Florida. Brad’s a friend of mine and he said his dog, Lucy, “Get’s him” and then he rated his wife Kathy as A-1.
  • Humor is a tricky thing. We sorely need it for healthy relationships. It’s what got me through adolescence. But we don’t want to make it the focal point of our relationships. We'll save that topic for another day.
Something we say that encourages another will begin the year with joy
  • A listener’s email about being more of an observer and less of a commentator.

“Be more of an observer and listener and less than a commentator. It can be a Christmas present of silence you give to others.”

“Two days ago I was in a phone conversation with a family member.  She commented on a photo that I had pointed out to her in a book I had given her to read.  When I mentioned that an item (a table) in the photo was actually positioned differently there than how we actually sat at that table when we were young, she disagreed and said it had been the same way that this book was showing it.  WHAT??  I started to come back with a strong rebuttal when all of a sudden it was as if the Holy Spirit said, “Stop.”

“I learned that this was not an instance where I needed to be right, that she may or may not hear the truth from another family member (Eleven of us sat around that table back then), but that I could walk away.  I am so glad I did.  The Holy Spirit immediately began ministering to me about how there are other heavier things in life that truly may need to be said but that this was not one of them.  That day became an enveloping of the Holy Spirit that I could have missed out on.”

Comment from a former student

I ran into him about 12 years ago, and then had a phone conversation with him about a mutual acquaintance just the other day. And I learned where life has taken him in the 40+ years since we were in the same classroom together every day. What struck me was his comment, “you were so kind to me back then.”

Thank you note from a listener

“Joy” at the top of the small card, the size of an index card, “John, just a note to let you know how much I enjoy your podcasts! They bring me much joy. ~ Patty

This really touched me. It’s a great privilege to bring joy into someone’s life. I know some of you do this all the time. And I also know some others of you do just the opposite. You drain joy from people.

The good news for you is that you don’t have to be that way. You too can also begin the year with joy. You’re just as capable as the rest of us to spread joy. Give it a try. For as you spread joy to others, you’ll create joy for yourself. It’s one of the great mysteries of life.

If you forget everything else, here’s the one thing I hope you remember from today’s episode.

Begin new things, like the start of a new year in 2021 from a position of joy. Look for it, or create your own, and then spread it to others.

Here are a few ideas for how we can respond to today's program

Ask, what new thing in my life can I start today from a position of joy? Either look hard to discover the joy that’s already there, or create some of your own. When you create joy for others. You’ll be amazed how joy will come back to you.

Do what the ladies at the ECFA did and be bold, take a stand, plant a stake in the ground for joy, regardless of what has happened before.

Use humor to spread a little joy. Surprise people by being out of character. Look for puns, be playful with language. Point out incongruencies with a smile. Poke fun at yourself. It’s a great way to begin the year with joy.

Be kind to someone, someone who doesn’t expect it or can ever pay you back. Who knows, maybe you’ll run into that person 45 years later and they’ll thank you for your kindness because it meant something to them so long ago, and they still remember.

Lastly, let me and others know how this goes for you. I’d really like to hear from you about what you’re doing to begin the year with joy.

You can comment in the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of the show notes. Or email your thoughts to me in an email,


I hope your thinking was stimulated by today’s show, to both reflect and to act. So that you will find the joy God intends for you through your relationships. Because after all, You Were Made for This.

That’s all for today. See you next week. Goodbye for now.

You Were Made for This is sponsored by Caring for Others, a missionary care ministry. We depend upon the generosity of donors to pay our bills.  If you'd like to support what we do with a secure tax-deductible donation, please click here. We'd be so grateful if you did.