What Is Joy? Part One


Have you noticed? Joy is all over the place. There are joy ornaments, joy coffee mugs, joy clothing, joy signs,  joy Christmas wrapping, and joy cards. 


What runs through your mind when you see or hear the word joy? For part one of this blog series, I want us to discover what joy is through Mary's encounter with God's messenger.

In Luke 1:26-38, Mary experiences a divine encounter with the angel, Gabriel. Gabriel's sudden appearance startles her as he speaks, "Greetings, favored woman. The Lord is with you." (vs. 28) Because Mary is troubled at the angel's words, Gabriel comforts her by saying, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God." 

The angel explains how she would become overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and conceive a Child. She's told that this Child will be the Son of the Most High, the Savior of the world. The angel also reveals what the Child is to be named, Jesus, and that He will be given the throne of David to rule over the house of Jacob forever. 

Since God had not spoken in any form but through silence for 400 years, I cannot fathom Mary's thoughts. But the Scriptures do give us a glimpse into her response - complete submission to the will of God.

"I am the Lord's servant," said Mary. May it be done to me according to your word." (vs.28, CSB)

Even though what she heard was impossible from a human perspective, the soon-to-be new mother trusted the words of God as told by the messenger, "...for with God, nothing is impossible." (vs. 37)

Her trust unleashed a remarkable joy inside Mary's heart. In that moment, as her spirit was brimming with joy, she couldn't do anything else but rejoice in God, her Savior.  Mary's Magnificat is recorded in Luke 1:46-55. Her rejoicing begins with, "My soul praises the greatness the Lord."

Joy is trust. 

Mary's response to the word of the Lord shows that when we trust God completely and really believe His Word, our hearts fill up with joy. When joy increases, the worries of this world decrease. In response, we magnify the greatness of our God. We can't help it. When joy happens, we must express it. We may not always express it for all the world to hear, but real joy cannot be contained. It must spill out and bring God glory. 

How are you trusting God's Word this Christmas season? He's written it all down for you to see and hear, believe and experience. May you trust Him completely today and be filled with His inexpressible joy!

Over the next few weeks, we'll be combing the Scriptures for more of what real joy is all about. 

In the meantime, check out my Author Facebook page for some of my favorite recipes to try.  https://www.facebook.com/writermelanieshull/