img_4893Luke 1: 39 – 45
After nine days of difficult travel to visit her cousin Elizabeth, Mary carried in her heart the most astounding secret:  She was pregnant, and the child was to be the long-awaited messianic king, Israel’s deliverer.  Yet she had been afraid to share the news, for if the wrong person heard, Herod could have had her killed; or, if her loved ones didn’t believe her, the religious leaders might have condemned her and had her put to death.  Perhaps she herself was afraid to trust that it was true.
But when Elizabeth prophesied over Mary and announced that she was blessed, Mary finally was able to trust that God really was at work.  She believed that, despite the inherent danger in carrying the Messiah; despite the reality that her hopes and dreams had been turned upside down; God would work through her and her child.  In her acceptance of this amazing truth, Mary finally shouted out her song of joy.  Can you hear the tone of her song in its opening words?  “My soul magnifies the Lord!  My spirit rejoices in God my Savior!”

(Adapted from Walking the Road to Bethlehem, pp. 77-78)

When the angel Gabriel told Mary that a special child would be born to her, Mary was filled with joy. She sang a song that expressed her joy:
 46 “My soul glorifies the Lord
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49     for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.” (Luke 1:39-55, NIV)
 Joy is a choice we make when we look at our present circumstances through the eyes of faith, trusting that God is at work and that he will never leave us nor abandon us.  And it is often found with the help of another who reassures us that God is with us.

(Adapted from Walking the Road to Bethlehem, p. 79)


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