Mark Room For Joy
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.
Luke 1:39 – 44
Today we are going to learn from Elizabeth and John how to create moments of celebration. Personally, I love this section of the Christmas story. When these people get the slightest hint that God is about to keep his promises, they break into joyful celebration.
John kicks off the party by jumping with joy in his mother’s womb the minute he gets an inkling of Jesus’ coming. Next Elizabeth joins in the celebration by boldly declaring God’s blessings on Mary and the child in Mary’s womb. Then, Mary jumps into the “Jesus Is About to Come” party by bursting into her own song of praise. Finally, there is the shy member of the party: the Holy Spirit. He’s the one who initiates this joy-filled party by animating the whole thing.
In this unrestrained outburst of joy, I think God is saying something of great importance to us: Make room for joy.
Why? Well, in the Bible we are told that Jesus is coming back soon, but soon doesn’t seem to be happening very quickly. From God’s eternal perspective, the end of all things is near. But from our perspective, the end of all things is taking a rather long time. And while we wait, there is still so much that is wrong with our world. The curse of sin hasn’t been lifted. Pain and heartache still present themselves.
The lingering darkness in our world can often leave us feeling like there isn’t anything to celebrate. This is why celebration is serious business. Intentional moments of joy are like tiny slits in the darkness that allow us to peer into the future coming kingdom. They are foretastes of an approaching party. They are rehearsals for the moment when we will celebrate with Jesus.
I think Elizabeth’s loud shouts of blessing and John’s joyful jumps are an invitation from God to punctuate our waiting with moments of joyful celebrating. So this Advent, make sure you make room for joy. If you know Jesus, you have the most powerful reason in the world to do this: Jesus is coming back for you. One day the weariness will be over. One day the curse will be lifted.
So for a moment, consider this reality. Right now, all over the world people are stringing lights, playing special music, baking cookies, making memories, buying gifts and preparing lavish feasts. They are interrupting their long waiting with a little celebrating. Make sure you join them. It will be good for you, and it is what God invites you to.
A Moment to Reflect
What can you do today to intentionally create space for celebration during this advent?