By Katie Comiskey The joy of Advent is often lost on me. As one prone to melancholy, I dwell more on disappointment than victories. Somber devotion suits me better than musing on the triumphant.
To be sure, sober meditation is necessary. How else can we probe the depth of the Incarnation? Yet here is the fault-line for me: I miss out on the joy of the season.
The Visitation invites me into the jubilance of Advent. Mary hurries to the home of her older cousin, Elizabeth. (I love the NIV translation of the Greek into “hurries”. Such a relatable image--how many of us run to our dear friends and family after receiving life-changing news!) Pregnant with John the Baptist, Elizabeth breaks out into ebullient encouragement when Mary enters her home. “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the child you will bear!” (Luke 1:41). Harbinger of the ultimate promise--temple of the God Child--Mary is heralded rightly. How blessed is she who bears Christ within her!
Elizabeth is overcome with emotion: her joy is full! “As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy” (Luke 1:44). Even the baby within her cannot be still in the presence of her Lord and the one who bears him. It is a moment of beautiful and spontaneous worship. Who, in the presence of the Lord, can contain such exhilaration?
Elizabeth shows us how to respond rightly to such a Savior. Much threatens our joy--suffering, impatience, and disappointment. But the truth of His Incarnation, the steadfast and unshakable truth that our Redeemer took on flesh to reconcile us to ours--can suffuse our lives and make us people who worship Him joyfully in tough times.
Like Mary, we bear Christ within us. And when our journey seems perilous, may we recognize the "Elizabeths" in our lives who see the Christ in us a bit more clearly. And let us be Elizabeth to Christ-bearers around us as we summon their joy, and the direction of their dignity as image-bearers.
When I was considering leaving seminary, I felt conflicted and defeated, unsure of where the Lord was calling me and feeling the familiar sense that God had no clear plans for my life.
A dear friend spoke into my confusion with words of life and freedom. She blessed my fruitful time in seminary while confirming God’s call to return to Kansas City and pursue teaching. In that moment, she saw the Lord’s call on my life and confirmed the gift of who I was—both in my time at school and the blessing that lay ahead. Reinvigorated, I blessed her, this amazing woman of God, strong and wise, who had shepherded me through my time in Alabama.
In these last few days of Advent, let’s not forget that God is born anew. Like John the Baptist, let’s leap for joy! To us a Savior has been given! To us a Savior is born! May the Spirit within us soar at the joy of Jesus’ arrival.