By: Pastor Jamie Pagels
Originally published: December 22, 2021
Begin with 2 minutes of silence
Luke 1:39-49 (NRSV)
39In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45And blessed is she who believed that there would be[a] a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
46And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
When my wife and I found out that we were to have our first child, we were overjoyed! We cried, we laughed, we shared the moment with each other and then.... we started calling the relatives! I made sure to tell anyone who would listen - "I’m gonna be a Dad!" I was embarrassing frankly. Our most natural human response to great news is to share it with others. It’s what we are designed to do! Our joy is incomplete until it is shared with someone else. And, this sharing isn’t formulaic evangelism or strategic outreach; it is an expression of excitement, love and community. We share the best news with the people we love, starting with those closest to us and working our way outward until we have told everyone we know. Even the checker at the grocery store and gets in on the fun!
Even though Mary’s pregnancy wasn’t "convenient," her first instinct is to “make hast” - to rush - to tell her cousin Elizabeth. And, as they meet there was an explosion of excitement and joy between them - Elizabeth cries out loud in worship to God, her own baby leaps for joy inside her womb!
And Mary? Mary does something that is absolutely normal for followers of Jesus who are overflowing with the joy of what God is doing in them. She sings. Worship, spontaneous and public, rushes out of her mouth. Singing is perhaps one of the strangest things Christians do (at least to the eyes of the world.) Yet, we “sing and make melody to the Lord with our hearts...” and “address one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” (Eph. 5:19) because it is the response of a heart that is overcome with the joy for what God has done, is doing and will do.
Sharing the joy of God’s work growing in our lives - by singing or by speaking - waters the seeds of joy which sprout and flourish and overflows the containers of our hearts - even in the midst of circumstances that aren’t what we hoped.
Question for Reflection
What “seed of the kingdom” has God planted in you that needs to be shared with someone else? With whom will you share it that your joy can grow and expand?
God, I look around and see that you have created a world full of wonders that begin small but grow into magnificence. The greatest tress come from the smallest seeds; the greatest rivers begin with a drop of rain; the greatest humans begin as babies. Lord, help me not to despise the small beginnings - the little things you are working in me - but rather to celebrate them and share them with those around me. Expand and complete my joy as I stand in awe and wonder at the work of your hand. Amen.
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