A Reflection on Luke 1:46-55
The theologian Henri Nouwen described the difference between joy and happiness. While happiness is dependent on external conditions, joy is “the experience of knowing that you are unconditionally loved and that nothing – sickness, failure, emotional distress, oppression, war, or even death – can take that love away.”
This year has been a bumpy ride for many of us. We have had friends and family pass away, get sick, and suffer any number of ailments. Unemployment and job losses have been massive. Many things in which we found security has broken down or disappeared altogether. Even our worship has been altered from its “normal” conditions. Anxiety and fear in our community are at high levels, and many regards this past year as one of the hardest years they have had to endure.
This year, especially, we must understand that the news Mary received was GOOD NEWS; she was carrying Emmanuel, the Savior of the world, God incarnate. However, this was not going to be easy, as, with this great task, she would also face ridicule and possible ostracization because she was young, unmarried, and pregnant. If not for God’s comfort, this may have been a task too great for a mere mortal. Similarly, without God’s comfort and joy, this year may be too much for us.
However, God reminds us to respond with JOY because we have received JOY and HOPE in the GOOD NEWS that Mary brought into the world the Prince of Peace that would outshine the darkness. Especially in 2020, we must respond to our circumstances with JOY, and praise, just as Mary did more than 2000 years ago.