December 1. The time of the year when we celebrate with reverence and awe the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
As some of you know, I have been in a situation over the past two weeks, in which I requested earnest prayer from the few readers of my blog. I’ve not been able to share the details, except to ask you to pray. And I know that you have. It’s been a very difficult two weeks. Trying. Frightening. And yet I can share with you tonight, that my God answered my fervent prayer, beyond what I had even prayed for. I had expected an answer on this coming Monday, one way or another. But instead, ironically or divinely, that answer came yesterday morning, on the last day of Thankful November. And thankful I am! So thankful. His continued outpouring of grace and mercy on my life and the life of my family gives me a hope—a new hope, that can only come from God.
Thank you for praying. The relief and sense of safety has been tremendous yesterday and today. This afternoon I slept 4 hours straight, uninterrupted. The peace I experienced this afternoon is a peace that has been completely absent for these past two weeks. Thank you, thank you for praying.
And so now I turn my attention toward this season of hope–this season of anticipation of the birth of Christ. And I think because of this recent answered prayer, the word that is most on my mind is “Rejoice”. “Rejoice!”
This is not a word I use often. At all. Not in my everyday language, not in my “churchy” language (admit it, we all have churchy language unfortunately), not even in my private writings. But I found myself using it, unexpectedly this morning when I wrote someone to tell them about the answered prayer. It was the only word that fit.
I love, love, love this definition of Rejoice: To take delight in. Isn’t that just so fitting? When we rejoice in something, we are taking delight in that person or thing. This morning I was taking delight in the truth that my God had answered a tremendous need in my life–not only answering it, but answering it over and above what I had asked for, and even earlier than I had expected. This morning I delighted in the fact that my God sees and knows and does hear our prayers—and he answers them. This morning, during my study and prayer time, even after a short, interrupted night, I was truly able to rejoice. My prayer time was filled with rejoicing, with delighting in God my Father.
Rejoice is often a word we sing or hear at Christmas time. I think that it is because, like little children who delight in the lights and the festivities and excitement of Christmas, we as believers are called to remember; we are called to remember and to delight in the birth of our Savior. It is a time of remembrance. It is a time of fellowship and great joy. It is a time for rejoicing!
Of course the word stems from the word “Joy”, another word we often hear at Christmastime, with very similar meaning. Joy is a noun. Rejoicing is a verb. Rejoicing is the natural acting out of God-given joy. Joy is not happiness. I believe that joy is something that is gifted to us straight from the God who loves us. He grants us joy, which is so much deeper than happiness. And from that joy, we can’t help but to rejoice!
Scripture is full of instances of rejoicing. The Psalmists often expressed rejoicing in their writings. The prophet Isaiah uses the term over and over again, as he foretells the coming of the Savior. And then, of course, we see true rejoicing at our Savior’s birth. Mary, the young virgin mother of Jesus, expresses this in her beautiful words spoken to her cousin Elizabeth and to her God:
Luke 1:46-49: And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
Mary’s spirit, her very soul, rejoiced in God her Savior. Do I? Do you? Do our souls truly rejoice in God our Savior?? Do we really delight in Him? Or do we take Him for granted, refusing to make time to personally and quietly rejoice in Him amidst the business of the Christmas season?
And what about the Wise Men, who “When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2:10-12)
When was the last time you “rejoiced exceedingly with great joy”? It’s not something we do often. Sure, we rejoice over our children. We even experience joy in worship. But when do we truly, and privately or corporately rejoice exceedingly with great joy over the fact that God the Father sent His only son to be born as a baby, here on earth. Taking on human flesh, He lived amongst men, and died at the hands of men as a sacrifice for our sins. He then, three days later, was resurrected to now reign forever with His Father, and soon–very soon–we will see Him face to face!
So, my friends, I invite you to rejoice with me this Christmas season. Rejoice with me and my family! I urge you to take time this season to adore Christ, to worship Him, to rejoice in His coming. Below I’ve listed some verses that I use in my personal prayer time to express adoration to God. They are each linked to an online Bible, all you have to do is click on them. Maybe you will find them helpful, as well.
Rejoice, my friends, rejoice! The Savior has come!
Seeing the Lord, Scriptures That Reveal Him