Devotion: Monday, December 24, 2018

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verse is from Luke 1:46-47, where the Bible says,

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

A Soul-FULL, Joy-FULL Spirit for You!

Have you ever met people who are full of joy? They are the kind of people that no matter what their circumstance, be it times of plenty or times of want, their joy is always present. It’s not that they don’t have struggles or issues with which to deal, but those things never seem to overwhelm them. Or, if they do overwhelm, it is only for a time. There are people like that in this world. But how and why? Because there is a God who created and redeemed this world and who brings that kind of soul-filling, joy-filling life to their lives.

Mary is one of those people. Her spirit is full of joy; her soul is full of contentment because of the God of heaven, the “Mighty one who has done good things for me” (Luke 1:49). Her joy is rooted in the God who has created and redeemed her. Her joy is in the God who not only keeps His promises to her, but to all who put their trust in Him. It is an amazing thing to think about the life of Mary. At this point in her life, she is especially blessed to become the mother of the Savior of the world, Jesus, the Messiah. But that status will bring her struggles as well as joy. It will bring her comfort as she hears her Son’s teachings. But it will also bring her heartache as she witnesses God’s salvation in action through the life and the death of the one she will cradle in her arms that first Christmas day.

This Advent season is a challenge to us all to come to faith or to deepen our faith in the person and work of Jesus. It is an invitation to a soul-full, joy-full spirit that comes from knowing the height, the depth, the length, and the breadth of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ alone. There will be times when we are dismayed with what God seems to be doing. There will be times when we wonder why there must be crosses to bear at the heart of this eternal life and joy. But, like Mary, we are invited to ponder, to take to heart, and even to struggle with this Jesus who never lets His people down.

In the Old Testament, in Genesis 32, there is the story of Jacob facing his fears in life as he is about to face his brother Esau. You might say that he is wondering what God is doing in and through his life at that moment and is a bit unsure of how it will turn out in the end. There is a divine encounter, a struggle, a wrestling match. In the middle of the struggle with God’s messenger, Jacob reveals his faith saying, “I will not let you go until you bless me” (Genesis 32:26). God will be his only hope and he knows it. Mary knows the same thing in our lesson for today. May you and I be moved to that depth of trust in our God in all things. What a magnificent, wonderful Savior we have indeed!

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, grant me a pondering faith like Mary’s and a wrestling confidence in you like Jacob’s. With them, may all your people receive a soul-full, joy-full eternal life in Christ our Savior. AMEN.