And Mary said,

I’m bursting with God-news;
I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It’s exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now.

                                                                                    Luke 1:46-56 The Message


When was the last time that you were “bursting” with news of God or “dancing” because of our loving God?

I love this imagery that is given to us from Mary, the feelings of excitement, delight, elation. Mary goes to say that she is the “most fortunate woman on earth.”

Wow! Mary is expressing this emotion of overwhelming joy.

This week has been a little difficult for me as I am taken with feelings of both great joy and of intense despair.

Joy in the smiles on my kids’ faces after having a good day at school.

Joy from planning a Christmas at home with the whole family coming.

Joy from the incredible God-inspired things happening in the life of our church.

Joy in the fact that I have a savior that was brought into this world, wrapped in swaddling clothes, which loves me for me.

Joy, so much joy!

However, I often, like I said, have feelings of despair.

Despair from the financial stress of finding those perfect gifts for Christmas morning.

Despair from not having the answer of when my wife will find work.

Despair over the times that I have cried, wondering, patiently waiting, for answers to solve the homelessness of our city.

You see, sometimes, life catches up to me and I become overwhelmed these feelings.

This week I was in my office, when someone asked “how are you doing?”

On this particular day, I was not having any signs of joy grabbing my attention. So I intended to give the very generic response of “okay.” But before I knew it, I responded with “Well…” and proceeded to speak of the things that were bothering me.

After a while of me being Debbie Downer, this person begins to speak of the things in my life that were well; things that I ought to find peace and hope in.

Quickly, my thoughts began to change. I was hearing, seeing, and feeling all the things that made me happy, that bring me great joy.

As we sat in my office together, we listened to a snippet of Pastor Tiffany’s message from this past Sunday. I listened intently to her voice asking what we are focused on. Are we focused on the negative, the hopelessness, or are we looking, like Mary, and shouting to God for the joy that is enriching our lives?

Friends, I know that sometimes it is easy to focus on the despair in our lives, but I also know that joy comes each new morning. I am choosing to find the joy this holiday season and after. I hope you will join me on this journey of hope and jubilation.

Tim Boyer, Director of Student Ministries