Today’s devotional was written by Ann Timberlake.
I don’t think I had ever noticed how much JOY there is in scriptures related to the Christmas story until I began preparing for this devotion.
- The story begins with the angel visiting Zechariah and Elizabeth to tell them that their son, John, will “be a joy to you.”
- Luke speaks of Elizabeth’s neighbors and relatives sharing the joy when they heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy.
- When Mary visits Elizabeth the unborn baby “leaps up with joy”.
- When the angel Gabriel visited Mary with the news that she would bear the Messiah the first words from her lips were “Rejoice” which means be full of joy.
- Mary cries out in her response, “Yes, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!”
- The shepherds in the fields were told by the angel, “Fear not. We bring you good news of great joy!”
There are approximately 250 references to joy in the Bible and another 150 about rejoice. That’s a whole lotta JOY. Joy is a major theme in God’s words to us. And, If JOY is that important to God, then it should be important to me.
By the time you read this, I hope to have everything on my list finished. But as of now, I haven’t. As soon as I complete the shopping, send a few more Christmas cards, buy the stocking stuffers, decide on the menus, shop for groceries, cook, clean, wrap the gifts, finish decorating…and I am sure there is something else I have forgotten…then I can be JOYful!
Somehow though I don’t think it’s supposed to work that way. Perhaps if I focus on the JOY of the good news first, all the things that I think need my attention will not rob me of the joy I am to have as one of His children this Christmas. There is no doubt Mary and Joseph had plenty to think about as they began their lives together with a special baby boy to be born under very special circumstances, yet the angel told the shepherds, “Fear not. We bring you good news of great joy!”
This year, let’s put Joy first. That way, it can be carried through all of the rest of the things we must do, and we can keep a whole lotta joy in our hearts and lives.
Prayer: Father, thank you for the joy you give us through the birth of your son Jesus. This Christmas help us to focus on you and the joy of the blessed gift of your son. In your precious and holy name, I pray. Amen