During the third week in Advent, we spend time thinking about JOY.
From Psalm 5:11, we hear these words,
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, so that those who love your name may exult in you.
Two purple candles and one pink candle are lit. And this prayer is said:
Too often, we think joy is something big, O God. A brass band or a parade can certainly bring us joy. Just as easily and far more often, we can feel joy in a hug or the squeeze of a hand, we can see joy in a smile or hear it in laughter. Help us to not overlook the simple joys that peak into our lives daily.
This week in our Advent journey, open our eyes to the joy that surrounds us. Amen.
Here are a few quotes from blog posts about Joy:
1. Rick Warren gave us this definition of joy: “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.” (https://www.gcu.edu/blog/spiritual-life/weekly-devotional-fruit-spirit-joy)
2. The joy of The Lord, which is the gladness of heart comes from knowing God, abiding in Christ, and being filled with the Holy Spirit. Let us know him in every aspect, in our decision making, actions, behaviors and communicate with him daily, he is the foundation of our life. (Taken from this blog post: https://www.buckner.org/blog/the-joy-of-the-lord/)
3. Through that joy, they unlock a sense of purpose and hope which ultimately releases them from poverty. For God's children, the power of joy is never-ending. Although not one fruit of the spirit is more important than another, joy enables us to experience the others in the way that Jesus did. (https://www.compassion.com.au/blog/what-the-bible-says-about-joy)
Now let’s get back to the Christmas story.
“Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”
-Luke 1:36-45 NKJV
I hope you caught this moment! When Elizabeth heard Mary’s voice, the baby and Elizabeth were filled with the Holy Spirit. This was all before Acts 2 ever happened. They both started to prophecy over the other from the presence of the other. So powerful!!
Joy is so deep inside of us that even the womb can experience it too.
What happened next…Mary sang….I like that.
And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth 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 on those who fear Him From generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy, As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever.” And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her house.
-Luke 1:46-56 NKJV
What did Joy look like for Mary? A heart ecstatic towards her King. She had so much energy growing inside, she just had to belt it out and sing. Her song was a prophecy, even a foreshadowing of what was to come.
The angel told her where to go and who to see, and when they encountered each other, their spirits leaped to the point they both prophesied. That’s a wild day!
Joy to the world, the Lord has COME!
Here is a link to my Christmas song Bells: https://youtu.be/RJihKvpWXSw
Until next time,
Be a Sender
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