Time to Be Joyful

Yael Eckstein  |  January 19, 2023

Yael joyfully smiling with elderly woman holding a food box

…a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance…
— Ecclesiastes 3:4

Today, I continue with a new 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.

According to Jewish law and tradition, when someone passes away, the immediate family observes a practice called shiva. Shiva literally means “seven,” and it is a seven-day mourning period immediately following the burial.

The family stay together, usually in the home of the deceased, for the entire time. They sit on low chairs and don’t go to work. Throughout the days of shiva, friends and well-wishers visit them and offer their condolences, sharing stories about the deceased and giving comfort to the family.

But when shiva is over, the family is obligated to get up and leave the house. It is forbidden to keep mourning this way beyond the allotted time. After a full week, it’s time to begin the healing process. Other mourning customs are still observed, but the most intense time of mourning must come to an end.

Time to Be Joyful

In the Book of Ecclesiastes, when King Solomon enumerated the different times and seasons in life, he included that there was, “A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.” The verse refers to the seasons and stages of life.

In other words, there is a time to weep and mourn, but that time period should not be exaggerated. Tragedies happen in the normal course of our lives. But we must also know how to move on and find happiness again. When it is appropriate, one must return to normal living, which includes dancing, singing, and rejoicing in the day God has given us.

It’s important that we never get so caught up in the tragedies of life that we miss out on living our lives with celebration and joy. There is a time for sadness, but it always gives way to a time to be joyful if we permit it.

Moreover, this verse reminds us that there are times when we should be joyful and celebrate. We should never be so busy that we don’t have time to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other important milestones. God gives us so many occasions to be joyful in life — we would be remiss if we did not relish and treasure each one.

There will always be difficulties in life, so let us remember to celebrate and praise God for all the good things in our lives.

Your Turn:

What joyous occasions do you have coming up? Look for opportunities to celebrate life and the blessings that God has bestowed.

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