Advent Reflections Day 18: The Joy Giver

My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
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.
Luke 1.47-48

The Christmas season is one that seems to touch something very deep in us as human beings. Just think of films with a Christmas theme. Whether it’s The Muppets Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life, or Joyeux Noel (a film about the Christmas day truce in World War One), the Christmas season seems to have the power to open up something deep within our hearts.

Whilst some of this can be dismissed as sheer sentimentality, some of it really does reflect a quest for something a little deeper and more meaningful in life.

It shouldn’t surprise us that the season should affect us in this way. News of the first Christmas touched both Mary and her cousin Elizabeth in a way that perhaps they had never experienced before. Elizabeth, we read, was filled with the Holy Spirit and began to prophesy (Luke 1.41-45). And then Mary herself burst into song.

The power and the beauty of what has come to be known as The Magnificat reveals a heart that has been not only touched but opened up by the power of the Holy Spirit.

This still happens when people embrace God’s purpose and open up to the power of His Spirit today. Peter talked about Christians being filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy (1 Peter 1.8). That could easily be a description of Mary’s song.

Christmas is a time associated with joy. And for a very good reason, namely, that Jesus is the giver of true joy. Lost a bit of your joy throughout the year? Why not open your heart again to Jesus this Christmas and ask Him to fill you with His joy? He’d just love to do that.

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