Most people would say Sesame Street’s Elmo character is joyful. He laughs a lot and says he loves everyone. His “Tickle Me Elmo” doll is known for giggling with glee when squeezed. Some might say that Elmo is a source of joy.
As it turns out, Elmo isn’t always joyful. In New York, a man dressed in an Elmo costume was arrested for bad behavior last week. The adult sized Muppet got upset while pestering people to take pictures with him. Elmo began yelling and screaming, using profanity and racial stereotypes. Children and parents were upset by Elmo’s melt down and the police got involved. Elmo was taken away in an ambulance.
If Elmo is our only source of joy, we are in trouble. Our joy hangs in the balance, depending on the mood of a fictitious character. Since a man dressed like Elmo had a really bad day, our joy is lost.
The Bible describes a less volatile, permanent source of joy. In the book of Nehemiah, Nehemiah insists the Israelites celebrate and worship the Lord because the joy of the Lord is their strength. The joy of the Lord is strong. Though there are other things that offer joy in life (like Elmo on a good day), those things change. Real, strong joy is found in the joy of the Lord.
As you approach the coming week, find strength in the joy of Christ instead of the ever-changing things of this world. Jesus will sustain you in your work place, home, commute, family time, vacation, and so on. Though each of those areas may include challenges, the joy of the Lord is strong enough to meet those challenges. Call on Jesus for His joy. He will sustain you - even when Elmo goes bad.