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JOY FINDS A WAY  

And Mary said: “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.” —Luke 1:46-48

Have you ever been to Yellowstone National Park? It’s an amazing place, filled with nature’s majesty. It’s also a unique place, basically sitting above a supervolcano beneath the earth’s surface. That’s where the park’s famous geysers come from. All that geother- mal heat and combustion down there has to go somewhere, so it rises to the surface, es- caping through vents we know as geysers. Some like Old Faithful spout water 180 feet into the air. Others heat large hot spring pools and churn up kaleidoscopic minerals. Others ooze out in slowly bubbling mudpots.

Joy is kind of like those geysers. It’s our feel-good emotion, and when it’s there, it’s going to find a way out. Sometimes it’s quick to burst out. Sometimes it takes a while to work its way through the mud in our lives. Sometimes it’s a combination of both.

Maybe that’s the way it was for Mary and Elizabeth, two miraculous mothers-to-be in Luke’s Christmas account. Both women were facing a mixture of emotions in their unexpected pregnancies. Behind Elizabeth’s elation were decades of shame, scorn, and crushed dreams of having children. Maybe that’s why she spent five months in seclusion. Behind Mary’s wonder were judgment and scorn from others, and certainly some fear and confusion of her own. Maybe that’s why Mary hurried to the hill coun- try, away from the judgmental eyes of her neighbors.

But when the two women united, joy erupted. Elizabeth’s baby, John the Baptist, leaped in the womb. The Holy Spirit filled Elizabeth, and she joyfully blessed and affirmed Mary. Then Mary burst into song, praising God and rejoicing. All the fear, uncertainty, and pain faded in the face of encouragement and joy.

How is your sense of joy in this season? Who can you reach out to in order to find encouragement or to encourage?

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