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Eric’s Sunday Sermon; Happy and Joyful

Holding degrees in philosophy and Law. Formal studies or certificates or degrees in business, theology, insurance and security. Ex-preacher.

Just Silly

Happy time.

Happy time.

How Do We Use Them?

There is much discussion about the difference between happy and joyful. But certainly if you are happy you are joyful and if you are joyful you are happy? Can you really be happy without joy or joyful without happy? What is the difference between happy and joyful?

We may do definitions later. I think if we start out with definitions we miss the boat. However with that said most thesauruses have them linked as alternatives. Of course if you know my sermons you know that I must say that it should be joy full or joy filled. But that is really how our language works “joyful” means those two things.

Personally in my Christian base I think of joyful as being all filled up with the Holy Spirit which is love. If you are truly in love with life you are filled with joy. And like wise happiness follows. But be careful because you can be joyful without, at the moment being happy. Death of a loved one comes to mind.

We celebrate the life of someone who passed on. We mourn the loss both of theirs and ours. I have such a strong belief that souls never die that it is hard for me to even mourn the passing. I am sad that I will miss them but only kind of because I think their soul is still with me. Actually I think it is even more with me. The soul without the physical would be more pure love. This is too heavy to start with, apologies.

But the point being that we can be joyful and not happy. Now certainly we could be happy about our pay check but money just does not seem like it would bring joy. Maybe, but that seems a little lacking in spirituality. Unless of course money is you idle. Or maybe the money means you can take care of your family and provide, food, clothing and shelter. That just might make you joyful. Hopefully we do not worship the money but rather give thanks for our abundance, and yes proud of our hard work that earned it. And very happy that we have what we need and more.

I wonder if joy is spiritual and happy physical. And now we have it. Is there a real difference so that our synonyms are fully faulty and the words are not at all the same?

So Good


How fun.

How fun.


I am not happy about pain. Then again I just might be a little. Dealing with and/or over coming pain is cause for celebration. Without the pain you would not get that cause to celebrate. Real athletes work out right to the point of pain. And each work out the pain should get further and further down the line. Where there was once pain there will be ease. So they set their sights on that new level right to the point of pain. (note the athlete knows that point for them and does not surpass it) Plain normal exercise should not involve pain. The notion of “no pain, no gain” is hogwash.

In this matter of joy and happy I like to add the suffix of “ness”. Ness really denotes a state of being. It creates an abstract rather than a concrete. Happiness is what we should strive for and joyfulness should be a fulfillment. The states of happiness and joyfulness. To me that is significant. I like being more than having. I like my chair but I love sitting in it. Yet I might say “I have happiness and joyfulness”. To possess the state of being there.

Now if that does not get us thinking, nothing willJ. And hopefully it gets us thinking happy thoughts. My wife and I only exchange little gifts on Christmas morning. I still have probably 15 out of our twenty years of being together. (Sweaters wear out ;-) But what our real gifts are to our son. And that makes us very happy and being Christians the whole thing of giving makes us filled with joy. The best gifts are from aunties and uncles and brothers and sisters. This year will be strange as the boy is now a pubescent adolescent and you just never know about what “things” will do. But hugs will never have a question mark. Certainly clothing is out as he grew a half inch in one month. We do a lot of spiritual stuff and that is really joyful and happy.

So the giving and receiving fills us with joy. The things make us happy, or maybe not so much. Lol.

A cool thing is that all this barely matters in the day to day for our home, as we are generally happy and joyful and who knows the difference. And we for sure do not ponder it in conversation very often.


Nature and family.

Nature and family.

Dancing is Happy


And you get what I am going to say next. “It is all about the love baby”. Just throwing this out there, happiness that comes from love is joy. Joy comes from love. It you live in love then you are living in joyfulness. True happiness comes when we are in a state of joy.

Now there is this man, (I am not saying it is me) that gets depressed from time to time. To some degree, don’t we all? So in talking to a shrink about it the shrink agreed that in fact there was depression to a rather high degree. The issue was that while the man was being depressed he was still joyful. On the outside he looked happy. Well indeed he was. The depression did not take away the joy. So while the man had the symptoms of depression he took it in stride and though having all the symptoms he did not suffer.

Real joy is not taken away by circumstance and is not created by circumstance or things or illness. My elder son had to have a tumor taken out of his thigh bone. He was in a half body cast and lived in a wheelchair for a few months. A brutal experience. But he never lost his joy for living. He taught himself to “Pop wheelies”, “spin on a dime” and give others rides. He got happy a whole lot. They called him cookie as his mom was sure to make cookies for him to pass out to his classmates. He was very much loved. Because of his attitude of love.

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So we say that true happiness is…. And I have never heard anyone finish that with having things. Perhaps you have and let us admit that is sad. Sad is the opposite of happy. But not the opposite of joy. Joy is a state of grace. It occurs when love permeates our being. Happiness can happen without joy. But with joy there cannot be a dearth of happiness.

Happiness is or is not shared. Joyfulness is always shared lest it be not joy.

It could be said that love is not real love unless it is shared. It is what binds us to the good with others. Love should be the light. Joyfulness is that outward sharing. Without the sharing what good would joy be? It simply cannot be selfishness. The “ness” of self is a problem for love and therefor joy and therefor happiness.

I can hardly wait for my little home to rise and shine and our morning group hug. Now that will bring me joy and happiness.


Denise McGill from Fresno CA on September 05, 2020:

I've lived in a home where there was constant anger and violence and even though I loved, I was not loved in return. That is true misery. There was no joy. We laughed from time to time, but the joy was nowhere to be found. I thought everyone lived that way until I escaped that life. Alone was so much better and alone in Christ thousands of times better, but now that my second husband found me, I have discovered true joy and happiness. Good word play today. You made me think.



Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 03, 2020:

Thank you Linda, it was really fun to write. I actually had to do some research on the matter. That was fun too and I learned a whole lot.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on September 02, 2020:

This is another thought-provoking article. It's enjoyable, too. It's nice to think about the meaning of happy and joyful.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 02, 2020:

Thank you Chitrangada you are very kind.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on September 02, 2020:

Beautiful insights, and a great article to understand both joy and happiness in the literal sense. This makes me think and introspect about myself.

Wonderful article and as always I loved reading it. Thanks for sharing.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 02, 2020:

Well a good evening to you Jodah and back at you for your comment.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on September 01, 2020:

What can I say? You leave me both happy and joyful after reading this.

Drew Agravante from Philippines on September 01, 2020:

Thanks for clearing some of my doubts, Erics. You've made me understand more about the distinction between happiness and joy. Nowadays, people think it is literally the same. Godbless.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 31, 2020:

Devika that is a great compliment from a master in the area. Thanks alot.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 31, 2020:

KC thank you. You put a gleam in my eye this morning.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 31, 2020:

Flourish, we have a threesome also. Although he has much older brother and sisters. My son never even makes it to the kitchen without giving me a hug in the morning. Talk about joy!

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 31, 2020:

Marlene thank you. I think you may explain it better than I. For me it is faith also that is the bedrock of joy not built on sand.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on August 31, 2020:

Eric you are the best in sharing your great moments.

FlourishAnyway from USA on August 30, 2020:

What a sweet positive way to end this sermon. We do group hugs here too. Our family is small since we have an only child but the hugs are full of happiness and joy.

KC McGee from Where I belong on August 30, 2020:

Eric, There are many things in life that makes us happy and provide us joy. Like this Sunday Morning Sermon article for example:)

Many blessings Eric.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on August 30, 2020:

You are so right. Money does not bring joy, but I am certainly happy to receive my paycheck. I never really thought about the difference between happiness and joy. But, now as you explain it, there is a difference. I am usually filled with joy, but not always happy because other things get in the way of being happy. But joy is always lying beneath me because I always have faith no matter what is going on and that faith brings me joy.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 30, 2020:

Danny thank you for your thoughtful contribution. Pain that we overcome is a good source of motivation and joy.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 30, 2020:

Lorna I like your notion of contentment. That really does fit the bill. Yesterday was hiking around a mountain and today will be a nature trail around a lake. We do love our nature.

I can't say I have liked all church services but I always find them interesting. We are still too shutdown.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 30, 2020:

Dora it is great to hear from you. I sure did in joy your latest on Older men and women.

I surely do believe some things must be shared to be fulfilled.

Danny from India on August 30, 2020:

Nice sermon once again Eric. I am joyful and that's why I am happy. I also consider pain to be a teacher in the process.

The Peter principle teaches us to strive a bit more to gain something. So keep striving, keep going.

Lorna Lamon on August 30, 2020:

Another interesting sermon Eric, and I agree we can have both. However, I feel the difference is that happiness brings pleasure and can be fleeting, but joy brings true contentment which touches your soul. The photo of you and your son gazing out to sea makes me happy and brings me joy. I'm going to Church this evening - not sure what that will bring!!

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 30, 2020:

Thank you Pamela, you are always upbeat as far as you relate to me. I think you have been been blessed with joy.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 30, 2020:

Thank you Liz. Supportive friends like you bring me much joy.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 30, 2020:

Not to worry Bill the memo is a churchy religious one. I suppose maybe a theological one.

You do the Joy deal real well. I would suggest you don't give it a second thought. But when you hit your thumb with a hammer you might for a second wonder if you are happy.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on August 30, 2020:

Eric, you illustrated your topic very well. Your conclusion suggests that we can have both joy and happiness. I like the thought of sharing joy when we experience it. Thank you.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 30, 2020:

I haven't heard any talk about joy and happy recently. I guess I am living under a rock, hihihi

All kiding aside, Eric, I enjoyed your article. You explained the difference between joy and happy. It is easy to be happy and joyful where love is concerned. I am happy most of the time, which is good for me. Have a good week, Eric.

Liz Westwood from UK on August 30, 2020:

Until I read your article I think I was a little inclined to get the two mixed up. Thanks for clearly illustrating the difference between joy and happiness in an easy to understand way.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 30, 2020:

There is much discussion about this? I must not have received the memo. Probably behind the same door I was behind when good looks were passed out. Darn it! I miss all the good stuff!

I'm pretty happy. I'm filled with joy. I guess I figured it out even though I missed the discussion. I wonder how I managed that? Lots of practice, me thinks, although I don't remember scheduling a practice.

Sigh! It's all so darned confusing, you know?

Love always, buddy! That's all I really know.

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