At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.”
Peace and Joy Trusting Jesus
Mary was pledged or betrothed in marriage to a man named Joseph. A betrothal meant that Mary and Joseph were legally married, but for about a year they wouldn’t come together and live as husband and wife. After a year, once Joseph had made all the preparations to take care of his wife, he and his friends would walk in procession to get his bride and bring her to their new home.
Mary had life changing events taking place, and then God surprised her with a visit from an angel and the news that she would give birth to the Savior of the world! She must have wondered: “God’s eternal plan to send a Savior is going to happen in my lifetime and it involves me? Why me? How–I am a virgin? My cousin Elizabeth, who has been trying to have a baby for so long, is having a baby too? All of this is hard to understand!” Mary had reason to feel overwhelmed, yet she displayed a sense of calm, the kind of calm you have when you believe the Lord’s word and trust his will for your life. Mary’s life had changed dramatically. Instead of distressing, Mary felt genuine joy over the great things that Lord has done.
It’s easy to feel joy because of the decorations, gifts, food, holiday traditions, travel plans and everything else that makes this such a wonderful time of the year. But Mary teaches us about genuine joy. Genuine joy flows from a love and appreciation for Jesus who performed God’s mighty deed of salvation. He saved us from our sins and has opened for us the way to heaven!
As we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth, let’s not forgot that our risen and ascended Savior promised to return a second time on Judgment Day. While waiting for that day, there are bound to be times that we feel like we have more than enough going on in our lives, that we can’t handle God throwing one more thing at us. And then God surprises us with more, sometimes things that are pleasant and sometimes not. Either way, we can learn from Mary that in every situation in life–whether good or bad, whether expected or unexpected–we can be calm, for we have the peace and genuine joy that comes from knowing and trusting Jesus our Savior. We can be confident that even though life may seem daunting, overwhelming, and impossible at times, God will help us face the challenges. And ultimately it all comes back to this truth – nothing that happens on this earth can separate us from the love of God in Christ and his gift of an eternal home in heaven.
Lord, no matter what you send or allow in my life, whether good or bad, whether expected or unexpected – empower me through my Savior Jesus to handle it with calm, peace and genuine joy. Amen.
This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.