Finish this sentence: This Christmas I feel over-_____.
One of the most exotic elements of the Christmas story is the visit of the Magi. These Eastern dignitaries travelled hundreds of kilometres over a period of months, guided only by a star. They put their lives on hold, left their families, and subjected themselves to the hardships and rigours of a long trip in the ancient world. When they arrived, they worshiped Jesus, gave him gifts, then turned around and headed home.
One statement in Matthew’s account of the Magi following the star to Jesus jumped out at me: “When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.” (Matthew 2:10)
Overjoyed — was that the word you used to finish the above sentence? If you got a diamond for Christmas, got a promotion at work, or have a new baby, you may very well be feeling overjoyed. But for many, joy is the last word that would come to mind.
Overwhelmed, overworked, overindulged, overextended, overtired or overdrawn; but not overjoyed. Family tensions, financial pressure, unreasonable expectations, weariness, the recent loss of a loved one, or illness or chronic pain can make it very difficult to feel joy at Christmas.
True joy transcends how we feel or what happens to us. It is centered in the person and work of Jesus. The Magi’s joy was that they found Him. The arduous trip, the hot days and cold nights, the separation from loved ones, all faded when they saw the Baby King. They were overjoyed. He is still the key to our joy, all year long.