“Now as the people were in expectation, and all reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not, John [the Baptist] answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire. And with many other exhortations 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 child that Mary carried was hope embodied and she rejoiced with her child for it. John was celebrating the approaching end of his people’s wait for a Savior. The approaching end to sin and death’s tyranny.

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

The order of that is incredibly important. The angel tells the shepherds to first stop fearing what is in front of them – here, it’s his own angelic presence – so that they can then hear the vital message that follows clearly.

He tells them to stop being afraid, so that they can focus on the joy of what is coming to pass.

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

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

Maybe they’ve lost their joy. Maybe they’re overwhelmed with anxiety or guilt. Situations can easily rob us of it without the foundational joy that comes of salvation. Of what that babe, grown to adulthood, did for us at the cross.

It is imperative that we look for opportunities to share the Gospel with everyone struggling with a pregnancy decision, so we can address their fears and reach them with a life-affirming message of abiding JOY.

This week, please join me as I pray:

For parents considering abortion because they think a child will steal the joy from their lives, that they would be awakened to the wonder of an innocent new life coming into being and find it to be a cause to celebrate.

For children born into difficult circumstances, that they would be profoundly aware from the earliest age of God’s delight and joy in their existence, and blessed with a contagious and enduring spirit of joy rooted in identity with Christ that spreads to those around them.

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