Advent Week Three: Joy

“Now, while the people were waiting, and all reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not, John [the Baptist] answered, saying to all, Verily I baptize you in water; but one mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire. And with many other sermons he preached to the people.” Luke 3:15-18 (NKJV)

In Luke 1:44, we hear of John the Baptist leaping for joy at the approach of his unborn cousin, Jesus Christ. Elizabeth knew that the unborn baby that Mary carried was hope represented and she rejoiced with her son for it. John celebrates the imminent end of his people’s wait for a Savior. The coming end of sin and the tyranny of death.

Later, in Luke 2:10, the angel announcing the imminent birth of Christ to the shepherds said to them, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”

The order of this is incredibly important. The angel told the shepherds to stop being afraid of what was before them—here, it was his own angelic presence—so that they could hear clearly the important message that followed.

He told them to stop being afraid, so they could focus on the joy of what was to come.

That resonates loudly in the ministry that happens every day through Pregnancy Decision Line, our network of more than 1,200 affiliated pregnancy centers, and churches as they minister to those who are actively considering abortion.

The list of fears changes from parent to parent, but the underlying problem is the same. They are so focused on fear that they miss the important message: that new life growing is a celebratory event… despite any circumstances.

They must have lost their fun. Perhaps they are overwhelmed with anxiety or guilt. Circumstances can easily rob us of this unfounded joy that comes from salvation. What that babe, grown to adulthood, did for us on the cross.

It is very important that we look for opportunities to share the Gospel with all those who are struggling with the decision to get pregnant, so that we can meet their fears and reach them with a message that affirms the life of remaining FREEDOM.

This week, please join me as I pray:

For parents who are considering abortion because they think a child will steal joy from their lives, that they would wake up to the wonder of an innocent new life being lived and see it as a reason to celebrate.

For children born into poor circumstances, that they are fully conscious from the earliest age of God’s pleasure and joy in their existence, and will be blessed with an infectious and lasting spirit of joy rooted in identity with Christ that spreads to those around them.

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