Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Conception of a Radical Joy{{reflection on Advent's third week}}

It's the third week of Advent; the JOY week. 

My advent guide directs me in focus surrounding the Shepherd's reception and response to announcement of Jesus' birth, and that has been rich, but for some reason, I've been drawn back further....
My Bible page flipping left to right and my heart drawn to the cascading strands of joy in an earlier, although equally glorious, announcement. 

And this, this is what has gripped my heart; 
The conception of a radical joy in ageless gospel plans.

There is this incredible, untouchable, unconditional, and unending joy 
found right there in Luke 1:30.
"Do not be afraid, for you have found favor with God."

These words flowed from an angel's lips and landed with purposeful comfort and hope on Mary's heart right before her world would be turned upside down
by a working-the-impossible God. 

In receiving God's favor, she held what every human soul is created desperate for. 
She received it spoken audibly, clearly, right there into her human ears. 

And yet I've wondered if there isn't so much more wrapped up in these eleven words strung out on the tissue thin page of my Bible?
More than the mere narrative documentation of a historical conversation, 
as vital as that is....

The Angel declared it. He spoke it right out as a declaration of absolutes..

The Father had set His favor upon her; 
His choosing, pursuing, enabling, life-giving love.
Jesus, the Christ, formed inside of her and born from her 
would be the rescue of nations...
The Holy Spirit as the divine conduit, hovering, filling, 
working-out this glory. 

Oh what incredible joy is iridescently mirrored in these words,
{ where even down to the declaration of Jesus' conception in Mary's womb}, 
there is a brilliantly bright reflection of Yahweh's ageless gospel plans.
My salvation, your salvation, the soul-rescue of every heart made alive through faith...
The Father sets His choosing-favor.
The Son rescues, makes-new, and flows through to others.
The Spirit fills, speaks into, and enables...

This is our salvation; our soul's hope and life.

After the angel declared it, Mary responded...
"Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word."

And I wonder if her response doesn't hold more than the surrender and obedience which is often, and rightly, portrayed?
Does it not hold those things as strands interwoven with incredible joy, excitement and even desperation? 

For to truly hear God speak this stuff of gospel favor and promised rescue into one's soul cannot but ignite sheer wonder, bliss, and confident entreaty for it's fruition. 

And herein lies the recipe for a fear-killing, game-changing, life-altering, outrageous joy in this third week of Advent:
It is a gospel-desperation leaning hard into the declaration of His filling promise which births joy.

To bend our ears low over familiar words; tuning the channels of our heart's love and soul's joy to the waves of His choosing, calling, redeeming, giving, pursuing, always-near, never-leaving, full-to-overflowing love.
Hear his words, O soul of the filled-up-on-joy people. 

He has set His favor upon you!  He is birthing His likeness in and through you! He fills you!

And may all of us, the joy-full people, jump with a giddy joy, clapping hands, and happy shouts...
desperate for His glory above  any. other. thing.  
"...of His kingdom, there will be no end."

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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