The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour 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. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.’
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 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 favoured, 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 fulfil his promises to her!’
Luke 1:30-33, 39-45
This is the third in a series of reflections and prayers for Advent.
When I realized I was pregnant I was overjoyed. So was my husband. We hadn’t wanted to start a family for many years and then when we ‘tried’ nothing happened… for a long time! So much of the JOY I experienced then was about a longing fulfilled.
Some couples don’t want to have children. Some are unable to conceive, which can be heart-breaking (and they may need wise, sensitive and prayerful friends alongside them).
The thing that brings me joy more than anything is another longing fulfilled. It’s about a deep and intimate connection with God through Jesus…it’s the GOOD NEWS … the Gospel. Whatever my circumstances (which may make me feel happy or sad) I have an unshakable joy in the Lord.
Reflect on together: Where, and how, do I find joy in my life?
Prayer (as a couple)
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the JOY of the Good News of Jesus, our Saviour. Thank you that because of his life, death and resurrection we can live lives intimately connected to you. Thank you that your joy doesn’t depend on circumstances. Please fill our hearts, marriages and families afresh with your overflowing joy through the Holy Spirit this Christmas season. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
Prayer (for others)
Heavenly Father, we pray for … and … Help them to see that their deepest longings can be fulfilled in Jesus. We pray that they would be drawn to Jesus this Christmas season and come to know your joy in their lives and their marriage. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.’ Luke 2:10 (NIV)