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From the Belly

Have you ever noticed that not all laughs are the same? Some are on the surface, as if just to be polite at a joke that someone told. Other laughs are quick and stop suddenly. My favorite kind of laugh is a belly laugh. “What is a belly laugh?” you ask? It is when someone is moved with joy or happiness so deep within that it pours out of them like water springing from a fountain. Something struck their funny bone.

Mary, in the Bible, was touched by God in the depths of her being and something welled up within her and came pouring out. It was not laughter, though, but joy that found expression in a song. This was no shallow song that she made up because she had to; it came from her soul, from deep in her spirit. Here is how it starts out:

“ ‘My soul magnifies the Lord,

And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.’ ”[i]

From the depths of her being, Mary exalted her Lord and found joy in her Deliverer. She went on throughout the rest of the song to beautifully express why she felt this way.

Soon we will be celebrating the birth of our Savior. It would be easy for you to go through the motions of attending worship services, singing hymns about Him and reading Scripture. However, will you allow joy over what He has done in your life to well up from deep within you and feed the songs you sing, the Scripture you read and the services you attend? God is looking for more than a surface rendering of these; He wants them to come from your heart. He wants “belly” praise!

“But He is not moving in my life right now,” you say. I disagree; He is always at work in some way. No, it may not be the same thing He did in Mary (no one else has ever experienced what she did!), but He is doing something. Your eyes may not see Him, but He is at work. Also, recall other times in your life that you saw Him at work and meditate on those times. Think about His gift of salvation. The joy will begin to well up and you will have something to sing about!

Thank You, Lord for all that You have done

and all that You are doing in my life.

You truly are good. Let this truth sink deep within me

until the joy begins to flow, until my spirit and my soul are

magnifying You and are abounding with Your praise!

In Jesus’ name, amen.

[i] Luke 1:46, 47 – The New King James Version

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