One of my favorite things is to tell of the wonderful ways I see You at work! Yesterday morning, I was teaching a very small preschool Sunday School Class (two rambunctious boys!) K was already in class feeling sorry for himself because there were no friends there. L came in late, making that loud gasping sound that results from sucking up huge sobs- which Is very unusual for this normally happy little boy. He sat at the table when K immediately began trying to comfort his little friend. L didn’t want a hug, or a smile or any other sweet attempts made by K. With all his heart, K wanted to help his friend not be so sad. I told him there are times we cannot do anything to help someone else- it has to come from God helping them…and they need to be willing to receive it. So I suggested we pray for God to help L with his sadness and to have joy. K asked what joy is to which I responded: a deep happiness that God places in our hearts when we are close to Him.
We proceeded with the lesson on the angel Gabriel telling Mary she was to give birth to a son who would be called Jesus. At first Mary was afraid, then surrendered to God, trusting He would do this. Later, Mary sang a song of great JOY because she realized how close the Lord was and how blessed she was! We then created paper angels with glittery halos and handprint wings to take home. Suddenly L jumped up from his seat and began dancing around the room with a huge smile on his face. He stopped in his tracks, looked surprised and announced, “I’m not sad anymore!” K and I looked at each other, and this wise little K said, “God answered our prayer! L has joy!”
Father, how can we ever thank You enough for bringing JOY to our world, which can often be dark and sad? How can we ever praise You enough for sending Jesus to draw us to a close relationship with You? Lord, we often want to help someone else overcome their sadness, stress, problems, deep hurts…but You are the only one who can bring true joy. Lord, help me stay close to You so I can pray for those who need Your Son Jesus Christ. Help me stay focused on life in You so I can be Jesus to others. Joy to the world! Let us all make room for him so our hearts can be transformed from a dark inn crowded with the world to a simple stable that shines out with the King of kings and Lord of lords. Joy to the world! The Lord still comes!
“The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you. Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. ” Luke 1:27-32 (Gabriel’s message to Mary)
“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Luke 1:41-45 (cousin Elizabeth’s and her unborn baby John’s reaction to visit from Mary expecting Jesus)
Mary breaks out in joyful song in Luke 1:46-50
“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
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. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.”
Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, turn my sadness to joy as I thank You for Jesus…