Advent Devotional Day 2, Consider it Joy

In the sixth month, God sent the Angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David.  The virgin’s name was Mary.  The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored!  The Lord is with you.”…”You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.

We have a little watermark in a plastic window, Mary had an angel.
Let’s just be real, when learning that you’re pregnant, or learning that life is now on a completely different track, it’s a bit jarring no matter how you find out.  Pregnancy is the confirmation of conception, the promise of a life to come, and the reality of a new life direction or a past coming to light in a whole new way.  

These are all things we may receive as a shock.  They can be frightening, beautiful, exciting and unfathomable all at the same time.  Just as new life is a miracle, waking each morning is a miracle in itself, and we should be nothing less than swept up by it.

But what if we cannot be caught up in the miracle of the moment?  

Whether it’s a pregnancy, a layoff, a debt or a broken relationship, we may very well fall victim to fear and worry, first.  We need a reminder to see the good in the moment; the opportunity for God to do a great work in us.

In this passage we read of an angel who swooped in and shouted “Greetings!”
Was he just being courteous, or did he bring more than a salutation?

The original Greek word for “Greetings” is Χαίρω pronounced “khah`-ee-ro”
The word is defined as a primary verb to be “cheer”ful, calmly happy or well-off”, and is also used as a greeting.  In this case, I’d like to bet the angel was also bringing Mary the command to be calm and happy.

Here’s why:

If you turn to James 1:1-2 you’ll read his salutation to the twelve tribes of Israel.  In verse 1:1 he says “Greetings”, Χαίρω, just like the angel.  Then in verse 1:2 he tells them to “consider it all joy when they face trials of many kinds…”  

The original Greek word translated to “joy” is Χαρά,pronounced “khar-ah`” and it is a form of the word for “cheerfulness, calm, delight, and gladness.”

James was bringing the reminder to consider it all joy; 
knowing all that his brothers had been through and would go through!

In her most fearful moment, Mary likely needed to feel confident that this was, in fact, of God.  Her reputation was on the line, yes, but more importantly, her husband-to-be was at risk of being judged.  Not only did the Angel Gabriel come to her, but he brought with him the divine suggestion to consider it joy, to be calm and be happy, and even bolstering that with “you who are highly favored!  The Lord is with you!”

We are all going to encounter struggles; more than we would like to think about.  There is no guarantee that being Christian automatically grants us an easy life; if so, everyone would believe!  Instead, being a Christian means we have put our hope in Him who has planned for us, and we will consider even trials a joy, because that means He is working in us.

Imagine where we would be had Mary chosen her own detour from here; had she chosen to consider it just too much to handle.  By choosing obedience in the face of the unknown, and clinging to the peaceful greetings of an angel, she gave us the Savior of the world.

Praise her faith.

When interruptions happen, how do you count it all as joy?

Certainly the holidays wreak havoc on our patience.  No matter what our todo list entails, something can and will go wrong.  Let’s make it a priority today to consider each obstacle a joy.  Let’s choose patience and gladness over stress and anger, and discover the blessings hidden in each mishap    Write Χαίρω somewhere and look at it to remind you to embrace the test the Lord has handed you.  Remember that the same message of peace and calm the Lord gave to Mary is meant for you, too, and that you can bring light into any situation just as Mary brought the Light of the World here for us.

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