“For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy” (Luke 1:44 ESV).
Joy bubbles up from deep within our souls. It produces a peace-giving, thankful, healing rush of praise often expressed by a leap, a dance, a song, or the stillness of perfect contentment. The Christmas narratives are filled with joy as evidenced by a leap, spontaneous singing, and unusual behaviors such as shepherds leaving their sheep to run into town.
Joy happens when there is a promise, the provision, and the recognition of the presence of God.
Jesus promised that those who leave their families to serve Him will receive a hundredfold all that they leave behind (Mark 10:29-30). In Spain, I experienced great joy when I recognized that Jesus had fulfilled that promise when we were invited to celebrate Christmas in the home a Spanish family who had found new life in Jesus Christ. It had taken time for me to learn Spanish; it took time for this family to come to faith in Jesus Christ; it took time to develop our friendship, but Jesus was always at work. The promise was in place just as the prophecies of the promised Messiah before Jesus’ birth. The provision of God meant abundance of family, not replacement, and the presence of God that evening enveloped me with a deep sense of peace, contentment, and thankfulness.
Colleen Fitch serves as a theological education consultant in Europe with One Mission Society. She resides just north of Madrid, Spain.