Advent Day 16: Jesus Brings Joy

December 12

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Luke 1:41 (NIV)

Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, were cousins. They were also pregnant with their sons at the same time. The two women were visiting each other when John leapt for joy in Elizabeth’s womb because he heard Mary’s voice, and recognized the presence of Jesus.

Before he was even born, John was moved by the Holy Spirit, and Christ’s human existence. Merely being in the Savior’s vicinity gave John great joy. John spent his life proclaiming Jesus as the Savior. In fact, the Bible says that he “paved the way for the Lord.” Eventually, John would be the one to baptize Jesus. He served the Lord until he was martyred, when, undoubtedly, he was ushered into God’s presence.

John was on the fringe of society. He was wild. He was outspoken. With John, there was no gray area – you either repented and believed in Christ, or you didn’t. The message hasn’t changed. You can’t live with one foot in the baptismal, and one foot in the world.

The start of John’s life was marked with great joy, his life ended in joy-filled service, and it all began from his mother’s womb when he recognized the Savior.

For Today: Does your relationship with Jesus fill you with joy? If not, what is preventing you from feeling joy-filled? Ask God in prayer to help you experience joy this Christmas season.

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Advent Day 15: An Inexpressible and Glorious Joy

December 11

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.
1 Peter 1:8 (NIV)

None of us were present the night Jesus was born. We weren’t there, blinded by the Light that flooded every corner of the dark world. We didn’t hear heavenly hosts proclaim his holy name. But we’re here now, celebrating the Savior’s birth. It’s because we know he came to save us. We can look at our lives and recognize his protection and provision. The light that covered the world like a blanket warms the coldest places in our hearts.

We weren’t there when Christ was born, but through Christ, we’ve been reborn.

God gave us Jesus, then Jesus gave us his life. That kind of glory fills our souls to the brim. We flow over with joy that is nearly impossible to express. It transcends heartache and trials and rests squarely on the shoulders of an infant-Jesus. It’s a joy found in knowing that we are loved personally and individually by the God who created the universe.

For Today: How can knowing you are loved by God cause you to experience joy as you approach Christmas?