Debbie Steen

On this third week of Advent we focus on JOY. I desire to be filled with a celebration of spirit, gladness and delight. To do this I must make a conscience decision to choose JOY. JOY is not based on how I feel, or my circumstances, but on who God is and all He does. Scripture tell us in Mark 9:24, “With God all things are possible.”

Ponder for a moment the conversation between the angel Gabriel and a young virgin girl, Mary.

“Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.”

“How will this be?” Mary asked.

Gabriel patiently explained and Mary chose OBEDIENCE over FEAR.

“I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said.”

With Mary’s choice came calm confidence and joy. God was in control of the details and circumstances to bring about His glory.

I came across a quote from Billy Graham. “Joy cannot be pursued. It comes from within. It is a state of being. It does not depend on circumstances, it triumphs over circumstances. It produces a gentleness of spirit and a magnetic personality.”

Don’t you see this gentle personality in Mary? She continues to obey and trust. Her circumstances are certainly not what a young, engaged girl would have dreamed of. Mary finds herself ready to give birth far from home and in a stable full of animals. A choice needs to be made. Can JOY be found in even these strange circumstances? Absolutely! God is in every situation. Joy filled that stable as Mary swaddled Jesus and held him close to her heart.

“GOOD NEWS OF GREAT JOY!,” the angels proclaimed.

Let us choose to open this gift and allow JOY to flood our life. Let us each share the Good News of Jesus with family, friends and strangers.

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