I recently completed Chesterton's Orthodoxy. I was delighted that he concluded with the topic of joy. If you don’t want to know how his book ends, please don’t read any further (I’m giving it away…)
Joy…is the gigantic secret of the Christian… The tremendous figure which fills the Gospels towers in this respect, as in every other, above all the thinkers who ever thought themselves tall. His pathos was natural, almost casual. The Stoics, ancient and modern, were proud of concealing their tears. He never concealed His tears; He showed them plainly on His open face at any daily sight, such as the far sight of His native city. Yet He concealed something. Solemn supermen and imperial diplomatists are proud of restraining their anger. He never restrained His anger. He flung furniture down the front steps of the Temple, and asked men how they expected to escape the damnation of Hell. Yet He restrained something… There was something that He hid from all men when He went up a mountain to pray. There was something that He covered constantly by abrupt silence or impetuous isolation. There was some one thing that was too great for God to show us when He walked upon our earth; and I have sometimes fancied that it was His mirth.
In the margin, I wrote: "Yes! I've seen it myself. He is always laughing!"
But if what Chesterson says is true, then this is my question, which you are free to comment on if you wish: Why did Jesus, while on earth, choose to conceal, or at least restrain himself from revealing fully, his amazing joy?
Like Mary Shelley
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