The holidays can bring both happiness and sorrow. Some of us gather with family as hot chocolate is brewing and cookies come out of the oven. Others remember lost loved ones or feel jealousy. Even the cold weather can send us into a funk.
Whichever scenario describes you, consider Mary. When Gabriel told her that she would give birth to Jesus, she knew exactly what other people would think. She realized that her family might shun her and that her husband-to-be might leave her. Yet she immediately began singing a song of thanksgiving: "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior" (Luke 1:46b-47, NRSV).
Mary recognized the trials that lay ahead, and yet she believed God's plan for her life was much greater than any pain or sorrow the world might bring. She basked in God's greatness, worshipping and singing a song of thanksgiving in the midst of uncertainty.
We can follow Mary's lead. Whether we are facing a time of plenty or hardship, we have an opportunity to sing a song of joy. Because of God's gift - Jesus, the son of Mary - we have the assurance that God will bring us into the kingdom where sadness is no more and joy lasts forever.
Ask your teen...
Reflect on a difficult time in your past. What did you learn about your need for God? About the peace that comes only through struggle?
Challenge your teen...
Each morning this week, spend time praying about the day ahead, inviting and expecting God to be part of it. Notice the peace and joy you feel each time God shows up.
God, fill us with Mary's joy! Amen.