The virgin Mary is pregnant with Jesus. She visits Elizabeth who is six months pregnant with John and in her senior years no less. Both women are expecting through the power of God’s Word! Each of them a living testimony that with God nothing is impossible. What happens when Mary visits Elizabeth? Elizabeth’s baby jumps for joy and Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit. An amazing and prophetic moment and clearly the hand of God is at work. John is already testifying and responding with joy to the yet unborn Savior in Mary’s womb … mind boggling!
We know that one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is joy, but sometimes we mistake happiness for joy. Happiness is a momentary feeling, but the joy of the Lord is our strength and brings peace and contentment. It is how Paul said he had learned to be content “in all circumstances.” Joy is the essence of God’s character. Psalm 16:11 reminds us “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy.” This divine joy dwells in our soul and comes from daily communion with the Lord. It gives us power to resist temptation, to act when the Holy Spirit nudges, to endure hardship and trials. We have all been challenged with sadness, discouragement and even downright frustration or anger this past year. But the Lord says his precepts are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. (Ps. 19:8)
Scripture is full of promises that bring hope and joy. Are we spending at least as much time reading it as we are listening to all the negative news swirling around us? I don’t know about you, but if I let myself read or listen to too much news, I notice my mood and outlook drastically changes. On the other hand, if more of my time is spent in scripture and prayer, my peace and joy is more evident. So, could true joy be cultivated by the daily choices we make? And if so, what do we choose – frustration and sadness or joy and peace?
We can also choose to be thankful – even in Covid. The more you can thank and praise God throughout the day, the more your joy in him will increase.
Lord Jesus, please fill us with your joy today. Help us to rejoice in you and all you have done for us. Help us to keep our focus on you today and every day of our lives.