Messenger of Joy

Yael Eckstein  |  January 31, 2023

Yael sitting and smiling with elderly woman

Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart,
    and good news gives health to the bones. —
Proverbs 15:30

Today, I conclude my devotional series on joy, simcha — the joy found in the grateful acceptance and celebration of each day God has given to us. Join me as we explore teachings on the joy found in connecting with God and with others.

In 2015, the news media was abuzz with the story of Jaden Hayes, then a 6-year-old boy from Savannah, Georgia. Jaden had lost his father to an illness when he was 4 years old. Just two years later, Jaden’s mother passed away in her sleep, to be discovered by Jaden in the morning.

Six-year-old Jaden decided that he wasn’t going to live his life in sadness. He decided to go on a campaign to make people smile. Jaden asked his aunt and now guardian, Barbra Di’Cola, to buy lots of trinkets, candy, and toys. Jaden’s plan was to seek out people who seemed down, give them a gift with a smile, and hope for a smile in return.

It worked! In fact, by the time the news carried Jaden’s story, he had “collected” 500 smiles. His aunt calls him a “ray of sunshine” who brings joy to all around him.

Messenger of Joy

Proverbs teaches us that “Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.”

As Jaden demonstrated, we can be messengers of joy. With his simple gifts and love, Jaden brought joy to hundreds. Some people even cried from joy after encountering this little boy and his giant heart. However, as Jaden’s aunt has noticed, the “smile campaign” — which is what Jaden’s project was called — also lifted Jaden’s spirits.

Notice that the verse we quoted doesn’t say which heart is filled with joy. Is it the heart of the “messenger,” or of the person the messenger is reaching out to? I think it’s both.

Jaden’s smile campaign kept him from becoming depressed. Instead of being broken by tragedies, Jaden chose to have joy in his heart. Although the sadness over his loss still exists and his parents are not forgotten, Jaden found a way to bring happiness into his own life by being a messenger of joy and bringing happiness to others.

Let’s be inspired by this young boy and his amazing reaction to difficult circumstances. When we live our lives looking for ways to make others more joyful — to being a messenger of joy — we will be rewarded richly for our kindness. God puts joy in our hearts and gives strength to our spirits.

Your Turn:

Today, let’s go on a “smile campaign” of our own. Who might we bring joy to today? Who can we get to smile? How can we make someone else a little bit happier?