Monday, December 12, 2016

Advent Journal Day XVI: The Grief In Our Joy

We  have entered the third week of Advent; Joy. I must confess, this week will be a challenge for me. Mostly during this season I feel…sad. I have never been able to understand or explain what makes me sad—especially in such a time of joy.

It caused me to reflect on the story of Christ’s birth; the people and the places surrounding the waiting; the preparing for the holy Child. Many were involved and became a part of the story; though they did not choose so. They had no idea how their world was getting ready be turned upside down.

I think about Zachariah and Elizabeth and how they lived humbly, and faithful before the Lord. Elizabeth carrying in her heart the pain of bareness. A woman highly esteemed, yet carries the burden of a curse. Zachariah carrying the desire—the longing to minister before the Lord in the sanctuary; his lot drawn. He will have good news, but not able to speak a word of it; left to scribbling to communicate.

Elizabeth filled with joy at the thought that God saw her in her bareness and in a set time, the Creator of the universe turned His thoughts to her to fulfill His promise of a deliver, and the messenger to make the way for Him. Elizabeth’s child, the messenger for the Savior, too felt the joy of the season and leapt at the sound of feet carrying the good news.  

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit {Luke 1:41 NASB}

For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy {v.44}.

And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord {v.45}.

Soon her pain would give forth to joy.

I think of Joseph and Mary. Mary a young Jewish girl who found favor with God. A girl of a family of honor. Now looked down upon and shamed, not able to hold her head high as she walked through the village; those she knew her entire life—now strangers. Her parents, honorable, now humbled by their daughter and her circumstances.

And what of Joseph? A man of honor who chose a woman of virtue to be his wife; no one understands why he has accepted this child; he feels as though he has been betrayed; faced with having to accuse her…a crime for which she can be stoned.

The holy family; packing for a census. It is almost time to give birth and she must ride on a donkey one-hundred miles across rough terrain; on a donkey. Joseph leading Mary and the Savior of the world to register their existence. He sandals worn; his feet dirty, tired, and bleeding. They make to Bethlehem to bring the One into the world; the One who created the world.

In all their stories Joy was a light leading them, but they suffered much grief before they found their way to Joy.

Whatever you are facing now, Christ is the Joy, the Light, leading you through the grief. He has Joy in abundance waiting for you. His joy is your strength as you tread through your wilderness of grief. Christ is here; A great Light now shines upon you.

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee {Is. 60:1-2 NASB}.

To read the entire Advent Journal click here:
Advent Journal: A Theology of Thanksgiving

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