Guest Writer: Invitation to Unwrap the Gift of Joy
It’s hard to think of an advent season without a deeper look at Mary, the mother of Jesus. I never fail to be struck by her willingness to obey in what must have been a terrifying situation. It very well could have been a death sentence. If they didn’t stone her first, the challenges of a safe pregnancy and delivery were undoubtedly in the back of her mind. Plus, the potential for endless shame and persecution for her family. That’s tremendous pressure on a teenage girl.
After her encounter with the angel Gabriel, Mary visited Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist. Shortly after her greeting from Elizabeth, Mary said, “My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:47).
In her waiting
In her uncertainty
In her moments of fear
In her obedience
In her divine purpose …
Her joy wasn’t dependent on her circumstances. Her joy was in God, her Savior. She obeyed, and then she rejoiced in her Savior.
Unwrap the gift
Friend, your situation and Mary’s might be different, but your Savior is the same. The source of joy is the same God who loved each of us enough to send His Son as an atonement for our sins. He could have left it there; that alone would have been enough. But He offers more. He offers goodness and abundant life in Him. He offers eternity.
This season in the modern world can often lead to much sadness, fear, and unhealthy pressure from every direction. It can make finding joy in anything, much less in the Lord, difficult if we don’t make it an intentional act.
In this advent season, will you obey and rejoice in Him? Will you slow down enough to look for the moments of joy that He sends gift-wrapped just for you – a visit from a loved one, an act of kindness, rest when you’re tired, grace you didn’t deserve? Will you leap for joy when you have encounters with Him? As you unwrap His gifts, take time to thank Him!
As we celebrate this Christmas, I pray you will open our eyes to the season’s joy. Help us to be intentional. May we all take time to unwrap the gifts of your coming and rejoice.
My Guest Today
Robyn Rison Chapman is a finder of hope and a passionate encourager. She was an award-winning journalist and successful grant writer before leaving those careers to spend more time with her family. During a season of family grief, Robyn began to feel God calling her into more faith-filled writing. She is the author of the devotional book Ordinary Walks With An Extraordinary God, writes regularly on her blog, Hope Anyway, and occasionally provides guest posts for other sites. Her devotions run daily on WEMM radio. She has made guest appearances on multiple podcasts and is a speaker at church and women’s events. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram.
Robyn is active in her church and has taught numerous Sunday School classes and Bible studies. She also enjoys baking, traveling, sports, and deep conversations. She lives in Proctorville, Ohio, with her husband Derek and sons Jack and Max.
Beautiful writing! Jesus is my JOY!