Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As with gladness men of old
Did the guiding star behold;
As with joy they hailed its light,
Leading onward, beaming bright;
So, most gracious Lord, may we
Evermore be led by Thee. (LSB 397:1)
Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Yet it can be hard to find in our lives at times. We are robbed of joy as we worry about various stressors. We are robbed of joy as we overschedule our lives, leaving no time to bask in the goodness that God has poured into our lives. We are well served to learn from the Magi.
Matthew tells us the Magi “rejoiced a great joy greatly” (Matthew 2:10; my translation). How about that for emphasis? Matthew uses both the verbal and noun forms of “joy” along with both the adjectival and adverbial forms of “great.” The Magi’s cup ran over with joy. Were we to have eyes to see the Lord’s goodness to us, our cup of joy would run over as well. Let’s take time to hear of the inexhaustible joy for the Christian.
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2:10-11)
The source of their joy wasn’t that their trip was over. It wasn’t that every part of their holiday preparations were finished finally. It wasn’t that they get a few more days of vacation while the kids are on break from school. It wasn’t even giving the perfect gift to the baby Jesus. Those kinds of experiences can give us joy this Christmas season.
The Joy that the Magi had, came from the promises of God. He had promised to send a Savior, and when they saw the star in the night sky, they knew somehow that God was about to fulfill this long-awaited promise. Their savior had finally arrived, which is the basic meaning of the word, Advent. Preparing for the Arrival of our King, a babe born lowly, wrapped in swaddling clothes and whose birth was celebrated by the arrival of shepherds, whom the angels had proclaimed while they kept their flocks that glorious night. Christmas is a season full of great joy, because God has come from heaven to be with us in the person and life of His only Son, Jesus Christ. That is why this child bears the name, Immanuel, God with us, because He truly was and His birth has changed everything, we can be and are forgiven through this most precious gift, the very Son of God, given to us, in order to deliver us from all of our sins.
What did the Magi do with their great joy? They fell down and worshipped the Christ child. They offered him gifts, in response to God’s lavish love that has been poured out for us. Merry Christmas and may we share that Joy with others this Christmas season.
In His Peace and Joy,
Pastor Ryan Honeycutt