Back on the Road Again

Luke 2:30

“When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.”

We are following Magi, from the east, journeying, led by a star, in the Christmas narrative. They were on a spiritual quest to worship the new born king indicated by the star.  Coming to Jerusalem they encountered Herod, the king.  Was he the father of the new king?  Nope.  This detour of stopping to check at the palace did not produce the babe they were looking for but it did produce information from the chief priests and religious teachers who were called in by Herod.  The scholars referred to the prophet Isaiah who said that the babe would be born in Bethlehem.  As the Magi continue their journey, they again see the star that now leads them to Bethlehem and the house where the baby was staying.   Their response as they resumed their journey was joy, “overjoyed.”

         “Overjoyed” is a strong word.  Can you think of a time when you were overjoyed?  Those are special moments when we know we have received a blessing and more than we deserve.  It makes me think of James 1:2:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,”

That seems very counter intuitive.  The examples I think of are the birth of a baby after nine months and hours of labor.  I think of the thrill of skiing down a slope after hours of falling and learning and trying and then successfully completing the run.  I think of the hours put in by an artist carving  a figurine or finishing a painting they are happy with.  Joy often comes at very unexpected times.  We received a digital photo frame and sit and remember with joy the pictures our kids are sending and somehow the trials that surrounded the pictures have faded.

         Where will we be surprised by joy this year?  Perhaps in nature-a sunset, a glimpse at an animal at play, a snowflake on the window, We will receive gifts of joy as we follow the star to Bethlehem and Jesus.  We will be givers of joy as we bless those around us with love and kindness.  Joy came after the journey for the Magi and for us it comes often after the hardships.  May we faithfully look for the hand of God in the trials that test us and trust him to lead us.  Blessings.

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