I am convinced that we are all prone to mimic more than we listen. (Thank you Jesus for being the LIVING Word, our example!) So, when I think about my kids and their young budding understanding of God, I ask myself: What is it that I want them to see in me? If I want them to receive the love of Jesus for themselves, then I need to receive it for myself. If I want them to confess their wrongdoings before God and their community, I have to value those for myself. If I want them to choose pleasing God and worshiping him alone, then I must let them see me disappoint others as I do the same.
Oh Mary and her eternal perspective.
Her song of praise, sung in the privacy of her elderly cousin's home, sends shivers down my spine. These words are not a result of rehearsing, or camera-ready tips given her. They display a heart rejoicing in genuine praise. I have no doubt that in her life, thoughts like these came in waves. She had so much to navigate. The ridicule she received must have been overwhelming at times- seen as a disgrace, a sinner, her worth in society bankrupt.
What is true today was true then: we are much more likely to believe the lies of the powerful than the truth from the powerless. Mary was powerless in the eyes of now nameless religious men. But God made Mary’s story great. She held in her heart the truth that God saw her and chose her, even if no one believed her. He established a future for her that would long surpass the piety of those who deemed her worthless.
Faith produces joy.
Mary experienced the joy of her promised future because she genuinely believed it. That is faith: assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1) While God’s calling in her life would bring her down a path of suffering, her spirit rejoiced in God her Savior because she had faith that he would follow through on his promises.
Do you really believe that Jesus came to save you even though the road ahead seems dangerous? Do you believe that if you follow him to the cross that you will follow him in his resurrection? In his inheritance?
Jesus, the Light of the World, is our source of joy. We, like Mary, can choose to rejoice in God our Savior, rather than wallow in the world’s assesment of our worth. Christmas is a great time to be “bombarded” with the call to rejoice, because it is a season to remember that God looked upon our humble estate, and gave our lives meaning. For generations and generations we will be called “blessed” because God, in his great love, chose us as worthy. He came to live in our story (birth, worthlessness, death) so that we might live in his story (rebirth, importance, eternal life). Jesus changed our forecast from stormclouds of destruction, to the warmth and brightness of the sun. While that joy is not fully realized, if you have faith that he will do as he has said, you can experience the joy he offers now.
As we approach this Sunday, a day set aside to thank Jesus for turning our sorrow into joy, reflect on his promises.
Write down the promises you long for most (not a personal wishlist, but promises made by God) and repent of your unbelief.