As it appeared in the Daily Nation on Dec 22nd 2015
Every Christmastime I like to write about joy and I do not tire because the world would be very dull without an ounce of joy. Christmas is in a few days, for many it will bring with it considerable joy. For others the joyous moments will be a missed opportunity and yet for others there may be no reason to celebrate. The kind of joy that I have a keen interest in is however different. It does not need to wait till Christmastime. It is a special kind of joy; the joy of service. This joy that results when we serve one another every day, at home, in the office, in school, in our neighbourhoods, for our country and just about everywhere. This service may be as a result of duty or it may be voluntary.
Dictionary.com defines the word service in 29 different ways. It is no wonder that most of us look at service in totally different ways. Because service is not well defined, we often tend to lose out on its importance. More importantly we lose out on the joy of service. I consider service to be an action word. Service is the answer we get when we ask “How may I help you?” Service is what we do for others. Service is the help we render to those that we interact with daily. We may not be everyone’s favourite but if we do what needs to be done there is a reward for joy in our heart. The key question is, are we a joy or do we cause grief in our daily interactions.
Many that attended Sunday school may recall singing this song… I have got joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart… Where? Down in my heart! … As we come to the end of 2015 how many can sing that song joyfully without contradicting how they really feel. A friend of mine who I have served with in different areas a few days ago wrote special messages to her friends on her Facebook wall. As I looked at those messages I imagined just how much joy the memories brought to her and to others.
The joy of service is real. The more we serve, the more the joy. Ask any frontline staff who seems to always be ready to serve what really drives them. They may seem to just like what they do or do it with so much ease. They may not even know the source but there is always joy in their heart. When we serve joyfully we experience joy in return. There is more, Christine Schanes in a Huffpost healthy living post once said that scientific research studies have shown that when we serve our immune systems can actually get stronger. Isn’t that even better?
The end of the year is always a perfect time to reflect and take stock of the year that was. This year many may have been recognized for their extraordinary service, others for their long service. Yet for many others no one has recognized them despite their heart of service. Indeed some may have even been ridiculed in their effort to serve humanity. However what is most important is how we feel deep down in our hearts! Is there joy as a result of service or is there regret as a result of missed opportunities? Have a joy-filled Christmas!
Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer and can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org/old or via twitter @kiruthulucy