THIS ICON IS CALLED SIMPLY, Mother of God ~ The Joyful. But what's the joy? Jesus has told us in chapter 15 of St. John's Gospel that he is the vine and we're the branches. It's a wonderful passage about his and our mutual love - symbolized by the intertwining one-ness of grape vines and branches. You really can't tell one from the other, there is such a unity in the plant.
And at the end of that passage Jesus shifts a bit, saying: "I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be complete." Receiving the love of Jesus and offering Jesus my own love results in joy. Don't we need joy!?
Then we are reminded of something Jesus said earlier in the same Gospel - John 14:28 - "If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father..." Lots of Christians say they love Jesus - but we could ask, Do I love Jesus because loving Jesus might benefit me somehow? or Do I love Jesus simply for Jesus' sake - because Jesus has the good work of the Father's purposes to accomplish?
Often in icons of the Mother of God, while Jesus is playful in her arms, she has a faraway look in her eyes. She already holds in her heart the separation - the God-purpose that will take her Son from her.
I might come before this icon asking what it means that I say, I love Jesus. People seldom ask questions about meaning.