Indescribable Joy

Do you recognize the name Peter Halajian? At 26, Peter moved to Naugatuck, Connecticut from his native homeland of Armenia. His job at a thriving rubber plant allowed him the flexibility to pursue his dream of one day owning his own fruit and candy business. After work he and his two daughters made sweet treats and sold them door-to-door. They soon became known for their high-quality creations, and business picked up quickly. After just five years, Peter achieved his dream of becoming self-employed. Customers found his last name hard to pronounce, so he legally changed it to its English equivalent, Paul. By 1912, Peter Paul opened his third candy shop and his brother-in-law Cal Kazanjian joined the business.

During World War I, candy makers were commissioned to provide chocolate bars for the soldiers. Doughboys in the trenches in Europe benefited from having such a convenient, high-energy, long-lasting food. After the soldiers returned home, these candy bars remained a great source of enjoyment and comfort. Peter and Cal’s enterprise grew quickly, along with their dreams and ambitions. In order for them to move forward, they persuaded four close friends and relatives to invest in their business.  

As a result, the Peter Paul Manufacturing Company was born. Their core values set them apart from the competition: “Give customers fresh, quality candy and top value for their money.” While they offered a variety of sweet treats that became popular, it was eventually the Mounds bar that became the favorite. It became such a hit that keeping up with the demand became harder and harder since manufacturing was laboriously time-consuming. In 1922, a new factory was purchased and the future looked brighter than ever. By 1930, the company developed innovative machinery to meet the ever-growing demand, and production took off.

While many companies floundered during the Depression, Peter Paul’s company took a significant risk proving they had not forgotten they were servants of the public. They promised to offer the same exact product for whatever the public could pay. They prospered from the wholehearted support of the public. 

World War II challenged the growing company once again after the Japanese overtook the Philippines – the company’s source for coconuts. They took a tremendous risk by buying and sending seven small boats to the Caribbean for loads of coconuts, all the while evading German submarines. A lack of coconut, sugar rationing, and chocolate shortages caused other companies to resort to using lesser quality ingredients and fillers. Once again, Peter Paul refused to lower its quality or raise prices. They adhered to their original core values of fresh quality at top value. In fact, Cal Kazanjian promised, “We will make Mounds the right way, or we will close the company down until we can.”

Once again, the U.S. military became their best customer and the company packed five million candy bars into combat rations every month. After the war, Almond Joy became popular and was marketed alongside the Mounds bar with the famous tagline, “indescribably delicious”. 

It’s that tagline that kept sticking in my mind as I wrestled with describing the massive amount of joy that comes from being set free in Christ. I know I’m not alone in my inability to express it properly because it seems the apostles Peter and Paul found it just as frustrating. 

In 2 Corinthians 9:14-15, Paul referred to God’s surpassing grace as “His indescribable gift.” The New Living Translation says it this way: “Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!” If you’ve experienced grace and freedom, you know precisely how that feels! 

In an effort to encourage Jewish Christians scattered by persecution, Peter got personal by reminding them, “You love [Jesus] even though you have never seen Him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.” Peter had seen Jesus in the flesh. He watched Him perform miracle after miracle. He listened to everything He had to say. He was in Jesus’ inner circle for crying out loud, and he still betrayed Him. But Jesus loved him anyway. Jesus forgave him anyway. Jesus went to the cross for him anyway. Peter absolutely understood inexpressible joy – and so do I. 

I’ve tried describing inexpressible joy using words and phrases like effervescent, jumping out of my shoes, overwhelming, a heavy load lifted, energizing, reviving, extraordinary, etc. No superlative sings nearly loud enough to do the job justice. Instead, what I’ve decided is that it’s our lives that are meant to do the talking when it comes to indescribable joy.   

I want to live a life that proves I’ve not only tasted and experienced joy, but I’ve digested something unique and incomprehensibly sweet. I refuse to let Satan get the best of me again! By remaining true to our core values of loving God and loving people, others will want to taste and see for themselves that the Lord is good and His “mounds” of mercy are everlasting. Our indescribable joy will fix our eyes on the future even as we endure hardships. We will see our struggles as the events that propel us into the presence of God and bring us peace. At times, we may need to be innovative, risk being transparent, join hands with other joyful people, or streamline our many efforts in order to inspire others to truly experience the joy of the Lord. No matter what, we can be sure that the joy of the Lord is our strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

Jesus gave us good advice: “This is what I want you to do: Ask the Father for whatever is in keeping with the things I’ve revealed to you. Ask in my name, according to my will, and he’ll most certainly give it to you. Your joy will be a river overflowing its banks!” (John 16:24, The Message)

Lord, we’re asking! In Your name! Let us never be satisfied with lesser ingredients or fillers when it comes to experiencing Your joy. Overflow our hearts, especially in the hard times. Let others witness our joy and realize this kind of joy only comes from trusting in You.

In Jesus name, Amen. 

Posted in
IMG_1125

Donna Jackson

Leave a Comment





Reflections of You and Me

By Donna Jackson | June 8, 2021 |

Mountains or beach? Most of us develop an intense preference for one or the other early on. I enjoy going to the mountains, but the beach ALWAYS blesses my soul. The smell of salt air mixed with sunscreen and the taste of freshly grilled fish (or steak at Big Mike’s Steakhouse) paints my face with a big wide grin. I bask in the constant…

The One Jesus Loves

By Donna Jackson | May 25, 2021 |

I love Jesus for many reasons, but one of them is for teaching us the importance of friendship. Jesus was a friend to everyone, but perhaps His three closest friends (Peter, James, and John) knew Him best of all. Do you have a nickname?  In my family, everyone has at least one, and most have…

Sweat, Grass, and Sam Cooke

By Donna Jackson | May 18, 2021 |

Last summer, the swelter of the hot southern day forced my skin to do more than glisten. Sweat dripped off the end of my nose, temporarily watering the stubborn weeds being jerked out of my flower bed. Lively tunes in my ears helped make the task more bearable while drowning out my husband’s roaring mower. …

Can You Answer One Question?

By Donna Jackson | May 11, 2021 |

The message for ladies struggling with drug and alcohol addiction rested quietly in my notebook. My outline on grace was simple – one I thought would resonate with ladies who humbly admitted their unhealthy choices. I prayed that my newfound passion would be evident, and that it would entice others to want the Jesus I…

Catfish and Dead Bodies

By Donna Jackson | May 4, 2021 |

It seemed like we were scuba diving in chocolate milk. My coworker John and I couldn’t see our own hands in front of our faces, much less each other. Our summer job was underwater bridge inspection in and around the Montgomery area.  We’d been given a crash course in what to “look” for, but we…

Your Life on the Big Screen

By Donna Jackson | April 27, 2021 |

Whenever I get to linger with my grandchildren, one of them will usually pop out with the question, “Hey, Mema! Do you remember when …” That usually means they’ve recalled an adventure we’ve been on together or a memory that still makes them laugh. Memories like those keep us connected.  Since 2013, I’ve spent every…

Unrequited Love

By Donna Jackson | April 20, 2021 |

Whether it’s romance or friendship, nothing stings as sharply, nor as long, as unrequited love. Webster defines unrequited love as “not reciprocated or returned in kind.” In a word, it feels like rejection. Of all the negative human emotions worn by Jesus, rejection could arguably be the one He experienced most often. Pharisees scoffed Him,…

Is There Fire in Your Bones?

By Donna Jackson | April 13, 2021 |

When the Spirit wants to remind you of something, He often causes the oddest verses to jump off the pages of Scripture. I’ve learned the hard way to pay attention whenever the Spirit continually leads me back to the same passage. I know there’s something in those particular words that He either wants to remind…

Dealing With A Slow Someday

By Donna Jackson | April 6, 2021 |

John Fogerty’s song from the 70’s starts out, “First thing I remember was asking Papa, “Why?” For there were many things I didn’t know. And Daddy always smiled, took me by the hand, saying, “Someday, you’ll understand.” Fogerty’s longing for “Someday” continues throughout the song’s verses, but the chorus remains the same:  “Well, I’m here to…

Just for Fun Today

By Donna Jackson | March 30, 2021 |

Three years ago today my mother went to be with Jesus. However, I’m choosing to laugh a little rather than letting myself feel the sting of grief. Goodness knows, Mama and I could get tickled about the smallest things and let out a few snorts while humongous tears rolled down our faces. I’m so glad…