- Tyler Jarvis-
Mary got up and hurried to a city in the Judean highlands. She entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. With a loud voice she blurted out, “God has blessed you above all women, and he has blessed the child you carry. Why do I have this honor, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. Happy is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill the promises he made to her.”
Eleven months out of the year, I am a Scrooge. I’m pretty sure that when I first saw Christmas decorations in the store in September, I actually used the phrase “Bah, Humbug!” I complain (loudly and often) whenever I hear Christmas music on the radio in November. When I see someone’s Christmas decorations still up in January, I offer silent (and sometimes not so silent) judgment on that person.
But something happens to me between the time I go to bed on November 30th and when I wake up on December 1st. Every December 1st, I wake up in the Christmas Spirit. I listen to Christmas songs. I put up my Christmas tree, and will often just sit and watch the lights. I watch Christmas movies. I drink a lot of hot chocolate, and use my fireplace almost daily (even when it’s 70 degrees, as it often is in Texas in December). I read the Nativity passages and the Messianic prophecies. And through all of this, I feel a sense of Joyful Anticipation and Peace.
And I think I’m taking my cue from Elizabeth. When she sees her cousin Mary, Elizabeth and the baby inside her are filled with the Holy Spirit and a sense of great joy. Joy because they know that God is fulfilling God’s promises. Excitement, because they know that the season has come where they will experience God’s salvation. More than that—They will be participants in that salvation!
It’s probably not good for me to be a Scrooge the other 11 months out of the year, but in the month of December it’s very good for us to join Elizabeth in her joyful anticipation, to leap for joy at the coming of the Messiah, and to rest in the peace of salvation that is coming because of the birth of Mary’s child.
Father of Peace, fill us with the Joy of Anticipation that Elizabeth felt. Give us your Spirit that we may believe your promises and become willful and active participants in them. Amen.
Tyler Jarvis enjoys hanging out with his wife, laying in his hammock, reading theology books, and writing. He holds a Master of Divinity from Lubbock Christian University, and has served as the Youth and Family Minister at the Oak Ridge Church of Christ in Willow Park, Tx since 2011. He can be found online at www.tylerjarvis.com or on Twitter (@Tyler Jarvis).