We’ve barely entered December, and I’m already tired. I’m suffering from a bit of the bah humbugs that probably come, at least in part, from the shorter, colder and drearier days. I’m tempted to coax through the holidays, and, honestly, to make them all about me. A time to rest, to watch movies and read books. To maybe go out for coffee with my daughter and friends and out to dinner with my man.
It doesn’t take much for me to turn my focus inward. But it also doesn’t take much for me to lift my gaze, which inevitably lifts my heart as well. I can determine, well-before I attend my first Christmas party, I drop the turkey on the floor, or burn the pumpkin pie, to worship.
I’m convinced that is the only way I will truly experience enduring, soul-deep joy. The same joy that filled the wisemen’s souls when they encountered the Christ child.
While Scripture doesn’t specify their country of origin, many scholars suggest they might have traveled from modern day Iran, a distance of 1,600 miles or more, most likely by camel. A potentially sixty-day endeavor, round trip. If you’ve ever driven down a bumpy road in a vehicle with no radio, air conditioning, or heat, you can imagine how uncomfortable their journey must have been. And no doubt they experienced challenges, frustrations, and the occasional quarrel along the way.
Yet still “they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy” (Matthew 2:10, ESV).
With great joy.
I don’t know if Scripture could say this more emphatically. They experienced deep, deep joy.
Because, before their camels stepped foot on that dusty ancient road leading to Israel, they had already decided to worship. (Matthew 2:2)
This posture enabled them to experience something others, like Herod and his scribes, missed–a personal encounter with the living God.
Friends, regardless of how tired I might feel today, I refuse to be like Herod and the scribes. I refuse to allow a bah humbug attitude to keep me from experiencing an intimate encounter with Christ. This Christmas, I want to approach every festivity, spilled drink, and potentially uncomfortable conversation with the same expectancy that drove the Magi thousands of miles from their home to the Christ child.
How are you this holiday season? What is most apt to steal your joy or divert your focus from our only real and abiding source of joy? What might your Christmas look like, should you determine, regardless of how dinner turns out, to worship?
Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.