James was surprised to find out that following Jesus Christ was not a kill joy experience. As he started reading his Bible, he learnt that when Jesus was born, the angels announced “good tidings of great joy” (Luke 2:10). Even before His birth, Jesus had brought joy, as attested to in Mary’s song. Imagine the implications of virgin Mary giving birth to a child in a society which specialized in demonising and casting stone at others rather than looking at their own behaviour. Isn’t it true, a clear conscience is a result of bad memory.

Mary knew the Spirit of God is the creative source of Jesus’ birth. Joyfully, she sang, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me-  holy is his name. (Luke 1:47-49).” Mary could rejoice because she was living her life in joyful obedience to God’s calling. Her joy was not dependent upon circumstances rather was found in intimate relationship with the heavenly Father. Mary knew her calling and in fulfilling her call she experienced joy unspeakable.

Jesus exemplified joy in His work. He was no glum ascetic; rather, His enemies accused Him of being too joyful on occasion (Luke 7:34). Jesus described Himself as a bridegroom enjoying a wedding feast (Mark 2:18–20); He “rejoiced in the Holy Spirit” (Luke 10:21); He spoke of “my joy” (John 15:11) and promised to give His disciples a lifetime supply of it (John 16:24).

Joy that Jesus gives, challenges and equips us to live a life of purpose, a life based on thankfulness for the freedom Jesus provided and a life that is a blessing to others. As we abide in Christ He does a marvelous work in our life. Christ fills us with His strength and vitality, and the fruit we produce, including joy, is His doing (John 15:5).

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