Advent Devotion Week 4: Joy

 Advent Devotion Week 4: Joy

Serving with Joy

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord
     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for  he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,

for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    holy is his name.

Luke 1:46-49 NIV

When I was a little girl, the anticipation of what awaited me under the tree excited me. The thrill of finding the gifts I asked for inside the colorful gift wrap exploded, “Thank you!!!” I spent the entire day playing with my new toys or trying on any new outfits, beaming with joy brighter than the lights on the Christmas tree. Later in the day, he would parade me around the house on his shoulders. I loved being tall enough to touch the upper part of the door frame. I felt like a princess—someone special.

I will never forget Dad confessing to me as an adult that I almost caught him playing Santa, putting gifts under the tinsel-garbed tree. I had put milk and cookies out for Santa with a note on Christmas Eve. Suddenly, he heard me upstairs, heading down to see what Santa had brought. Dad had to devise a quick plan, so he dashed into his office and stashed the milk and cookies in a file drawer. He expected to return when I wasn’t there to dispose of them but forgot. Several weeks later, he opened the drawer to find curdled milk and stale cookies!

Just as children feel overjoyed at Christmas with their presents and feel special on that day, we read that Mary was overjoyed about the Baby she carried, anticipating His birth. Mary is pregnant and goes to spend three months with her cousin, Elizabeth. She had to hide for a while, probably because unwed mothers were shamed and often stoned at the city gate. What was different—the Baby she carried wasn’t conceived in sin. He wasn’t a myth like Santa, but the Savior of the World.

 Elizabeth’s joy at her arrival was recognition that Mary was carrying the Savior of the World in her womb! Mary could barely contain her joy that God blessed such an ordinary young woman with such a miraculous way to serve Him. She thanked and praised God for blessing her and doing great things for her. Just as I thanked and praised my Dad for the gifts he gave me, making me feel like a princess, how much more does Mary thank and praise God, her Heavenly Father, for blessing her and elevating her status in life for generations!

I’m essentially nobody, but when my name appears with one of my essays in a book. I’m overjoyed that my name appears alongside some incredibly gifted authors. It feels good, but I hardly feel worthy to have my name printed inside because I’m serving God by following His call on my life. How about you? Do you feel insignificant? Has God called you to do something for Him but feel unworthy of such a call? God calls ordinary people to do extraordinary things for His Kingdom. All He requires of us is unswerving faith in Him. Princess—or Prince—you are a child of the King! Go, serve Him with a humble heart, always giving praise and glory to God.

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