Advent Calendar Door #16 – Jesus is…our joy

Posted: December 16, 2015 by leighannegreenwood in Uncategorized

Today’s reflection is the third in the series we have been following from the YBA, written by Rev Mary Taylor.

THE 3rd CANDLE of ADVENT 

THIS Sunday we light the candle of joy. We remember the shepherds who came to worship Jesus. His birth was announced to them by a quite unnecessarily lavish choir of angels who lit up and filled the whole sky above Bethlehem. Though they went from their menial and despised task of guarding the beasts, to an apparently unremarkable peasant birthplace, and back; yet they were filled with an inexpressible joy that they shared with everyone they met. The shepherds had been caught up in an eternal offering of praise to God, bringing glory to God on earth as it is in heaven.

 

ACTION:-

Read what happened when Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth whilst both were pregnant. Praise leaps from Elizabeth’s baby in the womb and this famous song of praise and triumph bursts out of Mary as she takes in what God will do through her.

Luke 1: 39-56

Mary visits Elizabeth

39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favoured, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfil his promises to her!’

Mary’s song

46 And Mary said:

‘My soul glorifies the Lord

47  and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,

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 for ever,

            just as he promised our ancestors.’

56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

Mary’s song of joy did not necessarily come from a place of happiness or well-being. In many ways, her life and future were uncertain and troubled. Instead her joy rests on her trust that God’s ancient promises of mercy and justice are being fulfilled. Joy and struggle can go together to produce rich fruit as in the Macedonian churches that Paul knew: “In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.” (2 Corinthians 8:2).

Try reading Mary’s song with a friend, shout the alternate lines louder and louder to feel the triumphant joy behind the words.

 

ACTION:-

Ask the Holy Spirit to make you fruitful in joy. Think about the circumstances that often cast you down. Look at them afresh with Mary’s eyes of faith. Use her words to pray: ‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour’

Please also pray for the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development’s Christmas events for Syrian and Iraqi children in December. A series of events are planned over the next few weeks. The first one gave great joy to the children who came. Please pray for the children, the youth leaders, the programme and its impact, the LSESD team, their local church partners and their global partners. For more information about LSESD visit the website: http://www.lsesd.org/

 

ACTION:-

The loving care of Baptists at New North Road Baptist Church, Huddersfield, was one of the steps on Jean-Paul Samputu’s journey to songs of love and forgiveness.

Visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p039wm9r

Share the story of Jean-Paul with those you meet this week. Pray for him as he uses the power of music to bless and not to curse.

Practise joy and gratitude this week. Keep a daily diary of what God teaches you through this spiritual exercise.

 

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