I have been concentrating on the word “joy” lately. I’m trying to teach my children to find joy in the little things, the difficult things, and the not-so-nice things. It is a hard habit to learn, but I am convinced it will pay off. My husband once told me that if I wasn’t content right now, I never would be. He was right. We must learn to carpe diem, “seize the day,” or better yet, find joy in the moment. Life is full of disappointments. If we don’t learn to look for joy, it probably won’t find us by accident.
Christmas is a very difficult time of year. There are family gatherings that inevitably end in hurt feelings due to thoughtless comments and idle words that seem to cut to our very soul. There is talk of babies and children everywhere. We sit in church and pictures of a baby Jesus are flashed on the screen and hung on the walls. Yes, we understand the meaning of Christmas, but the “baby thing” just seems to scream at us above everything else.
Mary truly had a perfect pregnancy. She had assurance that no matter what, this baby was going to be born – safe and healthy. What a gift! If there is one thing that I have learned from having lost four children, it is that no pregnancy is a guarantee. It doesn’t matter what you do or how hard you try, you have very little control over the end result. Mary didn’t have to worry about that at all. Baby Jesus was a sure thing.
Mary just had a “few” other issues to worry about, such as everyone thinking that she had been unfaithful to Joseph (which was punishable by death), the fact that she would have to ride about 80 miles on the back of a donkey at nine months pregnant (which would take about a week), having to deliver her baby alone in a cattle barn (do you remember how physically awful the days following a birth can be?), and having to flee to a foreign country with a young toddler because the King himself wanted her child dead!(Could you imagine having to be responsible to protect the Son of God?)
Mary had the very thing that I would have loved to have – just once – a guaranteed pregnancy, and yet, I’m not sure that Mary had a whole lot to find joy in. However, she did! Even in the midst of uncomfortable and chaotic circumstances, she still found a way to have joy. How?
Before Jesus birth:
46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. 48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. 49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. 51 He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. 53 He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. 54 He hath helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; 55 As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. Luke 1:46-55
…and after Jesus birth:
But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. Luke 2:19
I think that if we took a moment to think about it, we would be able to find that joy, even in the worst of circumstances. Scripture tells us that one of the natural results of being a child of God is joy.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Galatians 5:22-23a
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalm 16:11
Also, look at Who is responsible to provide the joy. We just need to ask!
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Psalm 51:12
For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy. Ecclesiastes 2:26a
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. John 15:7-11
Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:24
And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. John 17:13
Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Acts 2:28
So, I’m not sure where you are at right now. Maybe life just isn’t working out the way that you think that it should. Maybe you are having trouble finding joy in your current circumstances. Let me challenge you to begin to ask God to restore joy to your soul, and keep asking until you see the joy of the Lord return to your life. It’s simple. You just have to do it. Don’t let the devil steal this gift that God has promised to you. God desires you to live victoriously! Now, go and do the next right thing!
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Romans 15:13
Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2015. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp6912-31-15