Sunday Message Supplement for 15 December 2019: “Overflowing Joy”

Today’s Advent Sunday focus is joy, including that of Mary the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:46b-55). Mary had been visited by an angel who proclaimed how God was planning a miracle within her. After the angel pronounced the divine plan Mary joyfully declared how Jesus’ birth would renew humanity.

Mary’s situation is notable during the Christmas season because of the messianic promise fulfilled through Jesus her son. Mary’s role in Jesus’ divine mission inspired her to celebrate. “ ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior . . .’ “ (Luke 1:46b). As with all praise in scripture, you can be inspired to generate your own version. This is a crucial step because simply observing other peoples’ praise isn’t enough. You are therefore invited to create and share your joyful vision. God can empower you to express a joy that, like Mary’s, will blossom into an infectious enthusiasm.

God can strengthen your character as you remain joyful while enduring less than perfect circumstances. When God shares a powerful promise it can seem overwhelming. At times you may feel inadequate and caught in self-doubt. Take heart because even when things seem impossible God can work wonders. The good news is that Mary’s praise teaches a lesson: Joy elevates you above life’s everyday distractions and disruptions. You can share in Mary’s elation as you focus on God’s blessings, chief among which is the redemptive energy transforming you from the inside/out.

It’s no accident that people like Mary who experience God’s presence proclaim a marvelous response. Pause and reflect on the wonders of your personal relationship with God, for which no priest, church or doctrine can substitute. When you welcome Jesus’ birth you can also consider how God calls you first to repentance (turning away from destructive ways) and then to redemption (embracing forgiveness and spiritual transformation). Through it all, your life renewal is center stage. Join the radiant chorus whose praises announce the arrival of divine promises. Proclaim the wonders of your spiritual life as God refreshes you and those whom you touch.

What do you have to thank God for this season? Consider the joys of health and vitality. It doesn’t matter who you are, how young or old, or how sick or well you feel because spiritual transformation overcomes obstacles. By accepting God’s redemptive power you are rescued from a life of aimless semi-consciousness. By cultivating intimacy with God you are awakened to receive and share God’s love and truth in a myriad of ways. Your enduring joy arises whenever you are willing to cultivate an attitude of openness to God’s Spirit and all the subsequent blessings.

Joy is not always easy to generate. Perhaps you don’t feel joy as often as you’d like. It’s not too late for you to experience all that God has for you. You’re not alone if doubt and distractions creep in. Rather than respond to bad situations with fear, ignorance and anger, God invites you to choose a path of love, truth and faith. The accompanying joy and praise will elevate you above formidable negativities such as cynicism and doubt.

Allow God to transform you and generate pure joy from within. Praise God for all the superb blessings you have now as well as for those awaiting you. Realize that God is ready and able to help you experience a miraculous spiritual rebirth. Therefore raise your voice in joyful proclamation. Hallelujah! Praise the Almighty!

–Reverend Hoxey

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