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.

Unfortunately, there are thousands of young girls like Cyber Sally today who need to be introduced to humble Mary as a role model for joy and fulfillment. Wesley and I have a deep burden for the young single mothers, some in their teens, we know who are living a hard life, full of anxiety and often anger, because they’re forced to raise a child by themselves without having enough resources to pay the expenses, let alone having any money to put aside for emergencies or extras in the future.

More often than not the calls for help we get are from single mothers who can’t make ends meet. Our hearts ache for them. We can help through our LOVE FUND maybe to get them out of one emergency but there is the whole rest of their future to be concerned about.

So young people, both you young men and young women and you preteens. Your lives are precious and the church cares deeply about your future and wants to do as much as we can to point you in the direction of JOY, joy that comes from Christ when you make him Lord of your lives and follow his commands. Don’t let any shining star out there or Macho Mac tempt you to look for short cuts to bliss! Joy is a gift that comes only from following Christ and from him alone.

Now, I want to look at Humble Mary. Her motto is “it’s all about Him” and not about herself. Mary was a pregnant teen, not because she was promiscuous or an exhibitionist, a self-displayer but because G chose her and sent the angel Gabriel to tell her---Lu 1:30

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