happy birthday “JOY” (and why it’s more powerful than “happy”)

Birthday Boy!

NOTE: This is the latest in a series of columns about being a grandfather. (So far), these are all for and about David Henry Campbell, who was born a year ago today:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!! Our grandson made his debut into this world on Sunday, October 16, 2011. And, in one of those bittersweet juxtapositions of circumstance, David was born at the exact same time that the life of a good friend – John – came to a tragic end.

Consequently, one of the first things David accomplished was to provide many people with timely comfort, hope, encouragement, and promise; he was a clear dawning of light in a time of struggle and darkness. The initial trajectory of David’s life was a moment of shared grace; it’s a heading that remains sure, and true.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen – (Philippians 4:23)

Skyping happy b/day with David!

HAPPY/JOY: And so, David, I am excited to wish you a very happy first birthday. What I am praying, more than anything else, is that you will grow up to experience not just HAPPY on your birthday, but real JOY; not only on your special days but every day of your life.

I’m talking about a joy that you feel all the way down to the ends of your toes! Happy is something that we experience on the surface (and I’m not knocking happy, happy is a very good thing…), whereas joy is a quality that runs deep, to the core of your being.

Maybe – and I’m thinking out loud here – joy is best described as something that emanates from the inside. Maybe one of its distinguishing characteristics is that, rather than being a response to external events surrounding you, joy actually moves in the other direction.

David with Naomi

FAITH: From my point of view, David, the foundation of joy comes from the fact that my heart and soul belong to God, that Jesus is my companion, that the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in the essence of who I am. Joy acts on my experience independent of the stuff that may or may not make me happy.

One day, David, it’s my prayer that you will own that understanding, and that you will own a deep, authentic relationship with God for yourself.

NEED: Thinking about this, I’m convinced that what this world needs more than anything else (more than programs, policies, wars, economic initiatives, gimmicks, another self-help book, revolutions etc. etc….) is more people who own the kind of God-saturated joy that moves out from the inside, and then spills over into love, generosity, comfort, encouragement, promise, and hope.

Can’t miss with such wonderful parents to teach him JOY

In fact, all those qualities that you – serendipitously – offered this world from the very day that you were born.

So, own these qualities, David. And learn the source of joy. Then share your joy as if the world depended on it. Because, in every way imaginable, David, this world does.

Peace and promise and love and joy – Grandaddy Derek


  1. Thanks, Derek. This reminds me that real joy can be contagious and additive – I see yours and it seems to spread over to me and adds to mine (and I believe to God’s)


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