“I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart to stay.” Are you singing the words now? This is the song that began playing over and over in my mind as I reached the second part of Proverbs chapter 15. I’m sure it is one you learned some time ago perhaps in Sunday school, Children’s Choir or Vacation Bible School. What a simple but significant message shared through the verses of this song. This joy and happiness are here to stay in our lives, this feeling that comes from knowing Christ as our savior.

Part of the way through this chapter, at verse 11, the focus shifts from addressing the words that we speak and the language that we use to matters of the heart. It is important to take a pause and reflect on the status of our hearts as this will be the true influence of the words we speak and actions we take. After all, as has been the theme through many of these reflections as well as recent sermons, the words we say have meaning.

As we approach Valentine’s Day next month we are surrounded by candy in just about every store. One of the most well-known Valentine’s day treats combines both word and heart together. Conversation hearts are a truly traditional candy for this time of year and one you would struggle to find at any other time. These candies with short phrases were first produced in the 1860’s. Phrases were first printed on round NECCO wafers then the candies were later formed into a heart shape. Throughout the years the phrases have evolved along with the culture. Earlier versions were larger with longer witty messages. Today short phrases that fit with text messaging and current technology can be found on the hearts. Throughout the years each candy has offered a short simple phrase bringing happiness to a friend or loved one during the Valentine’s season.

These conversation hearts, much like our own hearts are happy, bringing cheer just as the author says in verse 13; “A happy heart makes the face cheerful.” Through our kind word and good thoughts, a happy heart is born which will cause others to be happy as well. Joy is contagious. Haven’t you ever been around someone who lights up the room with their true expression of joy? These are the people we long to be around more. People who spread good thoughts, happiness, and cheer!

As we go about this week, perhaps we can create our own conversation hearts. What joy might bubble up from your heart causing your face to become cheerful. What short phrases of joy and kindness might you share with others? The joy we have in knowing Christ is certainly worth sharing with others.

Martha Kate