Christmas Begins With Thanksgiving
One of my favorite benign addictions in life is people watching! Now, I enjoy people-watching year round, but the time that it is most fascinating to me is at Christmastime. When I am in the post office line, waiting to mail my packages and cards, I intently observe and even eavesdrop on holiday conversations and frustrations. When I find myself at the mall, while trying not to be impatient, what brings pleasure to me is to focus my attention on others who are frustratingly focused on the buying of gifts and on the possibility of seasonal sales. I often try to butt into conversations with words of encouragement or Christmas joy!
Would you like to join me in eavesdropping on one of the most glorious Christmas conversations in all of history? I believe that this one celebratory exchange just may change your heart forever!
After the elder Elizabeth had blessed the Baby Boy in Mary’s virgin womb, Mary began to worship the Lord. She broke out into a powerful response of worship and heartfelt adoration! I have often wondered if, when declaring these words of praise, she fell to her knees and lifted her hands toward heaven!
"My soul exalts the Lord!”
This simple, exclamatory sentence were the first words out of Mary’s grateful mouth in Elizabeth’s presence. Mary’s choice of words becomes especially beautiful when one realizes that the “soul” is the birthplace of passions, emotions, aversions and desires. Mary’s soul was not in a state of confusion or denial but Mary was declaring the fact that regardless of circumstances and events that her emotions and desires would always take her to a place of worship. Mary spent no time rehearsing what a difficult position God had placed her in or how embarrassed she was at what her family had to go through. Mary took her emotions and her feelings to a place of genuine praise and worship.
“And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” Mary’s soul and her spirit were joining in a beautiful duet of thanksgiving. One’s spirit is the place in the human constitution that desires the Lord and all that He has. The spirit is the place of walking by faith and not by sight. In this spirit place of Mary’s life that was in constant communion with the Spirit of God, her response was identical to that of her spirit: sincere and eruptive rejoicing!
How are you responding to circumstances or events that you don’t understand or perhaps might not choose? What is your soul spending time doing this Christmas season? Is your soul out of control with spending, eating and impatience? Or has your soul observed the example of Mary and chosen to exalt the Lord?
My prayer is that your spirit and your soul will fall to their knees and that you will lift your hands and your voice toward heaven! I pray that eavesdropping on this one holiday conversation will change the choices that you make not only at Christmastime but in every day of the coming year.
Bible Reading: (click on Bible verse to open in reader)
Let There Be Joy In Me:
Why is it so hard to rejoice in the Lord when our circumstances are difficult?
Make a list of 5-10 Scriptures that you can quote during difficult days of life.
If this devotional has been an encouragement to you, would you consider giving a year-end gift to Just Joy! Ministries this Christmas season?