Friday, December 22, 2006

Advent: Joy


This week we celebrate the Joy of the advent of Christ. We know of the joy of the angels, the joy of the shepherds, the joy of Simeon and Anna at the temple, and the joy of the wise men who started their long journey to find the King of the Jews and offer their gifts to Him. But there is another account of great joy in the Christmas story that is often just skimmed over. In the text of Luke 2, we are told of Mary’s visit with her cousin, Elizabeth. In verse 44 Elizabeth says to Mary, “Behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaved for JOY!” Even the unborn were given the joy of God at the advent of Christ.

What about us? Do you know the joy of Christ? What if there were no gifts? What if there were no blessings? What if all your family and friends were gone? What if your very life were fading away? Would the coming of Christ bring you joy?

To see what that looks like you need only look as far as Mary, the mother of Christ. She was the lowest of the low in her society. A teenage Hebrew girl who lived in utter poverty. Her only hope of survival was based on her position in her family as a girl betrothed to be married. And then, before the consummation of her marriage with Joseph, she becomes pregnant. Every blessing, every gift, her position in the family, even her very life could be taken away from her. In the midst of this desperate circumstance we hear the words of Mary and see exactly what true Joy really is. In Luke 2 starting in verse 46: And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.’

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