This month in HYG we had an interesting discussion that I thought I’d share. In the spirit of the Christmas season, we watched a bunch of commercials and, specifically, we looked at what the commercials were selling. We watched a Coke commercial where Coke made everyone in the world happy, a gum commercial where the gum plays an integral role in a couple falling in love, and a JetBlue commercial that promised luxury, comfort, and security. These commercials lead us to believe that happiness, love, comfort and all that we desire are easily obtained. As easy as buying a can of Coke.
As we talked, we concluded that the feelings promised in the ads are just flimsy facsimiles of the true, deep, spiritual sensations we crave. Happiness is a stand-in for joy; comfort for peace; desire for love; thankfulness for gratitude; optimism for hope; and so on. Happiness is fleeting. I can be happy drinking a can of Coke, but in the end, won’t Coke really just make me more thirsty? Whereas I recall someone telling me once that one of the most joyful moments of their life was at their father’s funeral.
Joy, hope, peace, love, gratitude, faith– these are the fruits of the spirit. They are deep, complex, rich emotions that cannot be easily satiated. Joy must stand in the face of hardship. Peace must stand against hate and anger. Hope must stand in the face of suffering and despair. They’re not quite as easy as their commercial cousins. 
We’re led to believe that we are sustained through the endless chase from happiness to happiness; comfort to comfort; desire to desire; and that satisfaction is one can of Coke away. But what the church tells us, and what our experience tells us, is that the pursuit of these paper idols leaves us thirstier than before. Instead, let us pursue gratitude, love, peace, joy, hope, and faith. They are not quite as easily obtained, but they don’t cost a thing. And they are offered to us, each and every moment, as a gift from God.
There. You happy now, Jane? YOU HAPPY NOW?!?!?!
Yours in Christ,