Joy to the World


The following is a guest post graciously written by my spiritual father, Abbot Tryphon. The Very Rev. Fr. Tryphon is a priest-monk of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROCOR) and abbot of the All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island, Washington. 

Joyful living according to the Will of God

If we focus only on the things that haven’t been done and ignore the little things that bring joy to our lives, we will find ourselves in a rut, constantly thinking of where we’d rather be living, or the job we’d rather have, or the project that still needs to be completed. Then we’ll wake up one day and realize all we’ve needed for happiness has been right in front of us all the time. Keeping our lives focused on joyful living in the presence of God, we don’t fret about anything, but rejoice in all that comes our way. Living according to the will of God brings us joy, and nothing causes us stress or disappointment.

How do we know we are living according to the will of God? We make sure we live a life that is focused on Christ, and not let the transitory things rule, for we know a life centered in Christ brings about true peace, wisdom, knowledge, and joy. In focusing on Christ, we are given the grace to trust in God’s Divine Providence for everything, and whatever comes our way is received as a gift from God.

How do we know we’re living according to the will of God? The Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica tells us, “He who lives according to God’s will has no worries. When he needs something, he simply prays for it. If he does not receive that which he asked for, he is joyful as though he had received it. A soul that has given itself over to God has no fear of anything, not even robbers, sickness, or death. Whatever happens, such a soul always cries, ‘It was the will of God’.”

Saint Seraphim of Sarov was so filled with this joy, he greeted all who came to him with a prostration, a kiss, and the words of the Paschal greeting: “Christ is Risen!” He called everyone, “my joy.” So we, like this beloved saint, can live our lives in the Paschal moment, forever shouting out the Paschal greeting with the joy we feel during the Paschal service itself. And in Christ, our joyful countenance will express to all around us, “Joy to the World”, for Christ has come down from heaven, and into our midst, and we are restored to our inheritance.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

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