Summary: Mary is a model of how to find joy

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LUKE 1: 46-50 REJOICING IN THE GIFT- 12/16/07

I’m sure you’re well aware that the theme for today is JOY. “Rejoicing in the Gift.” The banner announces the theme, the songs we sang, the story for the children. Yet, I know Christmas is not a season of joy for many people.

Last Sunday’s Daily Bread entry was about Blue Christmas celebrations. “A growing number of churches are holding annual Blue Christmas services for those faced with grief and loss. . .Blue Christmas service provides an opportunity for people to come and be in the presence of God and acknowledge their grief and despair and loneliness and give it to God. (12/9/07)

Many people just plainly don’t have joy in their lives, not because of grief or loss but because of stress, or overload, demands, tension, low energy, fear, too little sleep, too little downtime and too little or no quality time with the Lord for reviving their souls and for clearing away the clutter, and for experiencing the warmth of being loved and called to purposeful living.

We all need the experience of coming to the Garden alone as the song says —and “he walks with me and he talks with me, and he tells me, I am his own; and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known”

And there are people who hear sermons about the Christmas joy they’re supposed to have and don’t have, so instead of leaving church feeling refreshed and joyful, they leave feeling weighed down with guilt on top of the heavy burden they are already carrying.

I’ve been praying this week about Christmas JOY in the congregation because I know there are a number of you who are carrying burdens that are heavy, regarding health, finances, work stress, relationships in the home, at school and even dealing with bullies. And some of you are thinking, “Joy? Tell me about it, I need a little this Christmas season."

Well, I have good news for you and I don’t say that flippantly because I’m a preacher, but because I’ve been where you are and I’ve found the secret! The secret is embedded in this passage, it is Mary’s secret, it’s my secret, and it can be your secret today, too.

Here’s the password to get you closer to the secret. It is “It’s all about Him!” So this morning to get to the secret, I want to contrast two young women both searching for JOY, one is Cyber Sally and the other is Humble Mary.

Cyber Sally, is up to speed as a modern teen. She knows how to navigate cyber space, how to make friends, how to chat on line and has one passion for her life- that is to be fulfilled. Her motto is “It’s all about Me!

Self-centered Sally, believes fulfillment and happiness, (joy is a foreign concept to her) comes from the rush of getting whatever she wants, dressing to allure, and having fun and freedom without any restrictions.

Cyber Sally, unfortunately has her eyes and mind closed to the road of pain and misery ahead if she continues to pursue self indulgence. An “It’s all about me” pursuit will eventually end up at a dark dead end street of self-distain or self-pity rather than personal fulfillment.

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