“For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.” Luke 1:44 (ESV)
So much about this time of year just makes me happy. Near the top of that list are Christmas lights. In fact, even though our crazy life tends to get a touch crazier in December, we always make time to drive around and look at them. We’ll hit a few of the designated displays from time to time, but we usually just hunt for them in neighborhoods. There’s just something really special about houses, usually hidden by darkness, transforming into beacons of warmth.
I know this might seem like I’m trying to shove a deeper meaning into something completely ordinary, but I really do think this at least alludes to a deeper joy. See, we are houses consumed by darkness, and Jesus —the Light of the World—has come to make us entirely new!
We see that reflected in Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth. After telling Mary she’d miraculously bear the Son of God, the angel Gabriel encourages her by reporting that Elizabeth, her aging relative who had long been considered barren, was now six months pregnant. The next thing we see Mary doing is going to see this Elizabeth, which makes sense. Her entire world has just been flipped upside down. I’m sure she wanted to go to someone she knew would believe her—someone who had also just witnessed God’s miraculous grace firsthand.
When Mary arrives, Elizabeth’s baby jumps for joy. Not only does this ring with Malachi’s prophecy about the coming of the Lord (Malachi 4:2), but it also points to why we can have lasting joy. Jesus drew near, and His presence changed everything. It always will. Joy came to the world because the King showed up!
However, just knowing this isn’t enough. Elizabeth goes on to loudly proclaim: “blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” Luke 1:45
Mary was truly blessed because she actively believed God’s plan — even though she didn’t fully understand and even though it could cost her everything. Mary isn’t deified in Scripture, but she is put forth as a wonderful example of faith. Remember, this divine pregnancy was enough to get her killed. She didn’t know how Joseph would react. She didn’t understand how effective Jesus’ ministry would be. She didn’t have a clear picture of how He would defeat sin once and for all. She just knew He was God, and He had a plan for her life. That was enough. And that penetrating belief that actually changes how we live, well, that’s what brings lasting joy.
Darkness cannot stand
When Light wins
Firmly in His hand
Until next week, rejoice every day like it’s Christmas! God bless.
Bobby Upchurch is the pastor at Providence Baptist Church in Bonne Terre where he lives with his wife, Melissa, and their four children. He is also an English teacher at Farmington High School. Bobby writes a weekly column for the Farmington Press opinion page. – Editor