Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Advent's Joy{{how to unwrap it for yourself by wrapping it up for another}}

" ...blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment 
of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” *

Can you imagine it? 
The sudden and explosive joy which filled her as her niece walked into the room; 
joy so powerful that her baby jumped {not kicked, turned, or rolled - but jumped} inside her womb, and her Spirit-filled heart overflowed with tumbling-out words of big joyous blessing!
What a gift of confirmation this must have unwrapped for her, soothing the isolation, uncertainty, and discomfort that unexpected pregnancy in old age inevitably brought. {not to mention the suddenly deaf/mute husband}.

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior..."*

Can you imagine it?
The joy that must have flowed over her very soul to hear her Aunt acknowledge, affirm, and speak worship over the small baby growing inside her belly?

To have another human unwrap and even rejoice in her divinely parented pregnancy as the gift that it was; soothing the isolation, rejection, uncertainty, and even danger that she had suddenly found herself living under.

Elizabeth's words to Mary... Mary's response of echoing praise...
These were more than the customary greetings, or the cultural tradition of blessing one another...
These were words authored by The Joy Giver; filling both women to give and receive to give again with a joy unlike any they had ever known. 

Advent's Joy.
It is the very presence of Christ with us. 
His Spirit filled both the older and the younger; giving them eyes to see His work in the other and words to pour out joyous worship over it all. 
And here it is; the recipe for a big joy given and received and multiplied infinitely....
To lift our eyes off of ourselves, our cares, our plans, our needs....
To so closely cultivate our souls in the very glory of Jesus with us, that we cannot but see His work in the lives of others, and here is the secret wonderful....
This is where our hearts will leap, and we will bounce for joy, and our mouths will pour out blessing...
This is where the big and real and true joy of Advent comes to life...
Because it is in the beholding of God with us, revealed to us, that worship is born. 
And it is in the blessing of His work in the lives of others, that true joy is received. 

A tended-soul filled with His presence...
Will you wrap up this gift of yourself for others? 

Spoken words of joyous blessing over His work...
Will you unwrap this gift in the lives of others?

The giving-and-receiving-to-give-again nature of Advent Joy...
how will you share it today?

*{Luke 1:39-55}
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
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 away empty.
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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