Joy to the World Indeed!
The wise men seem oblivious to Herod’s scheming. Perhaps they were unaware of Herod’s past violence. But perhaps they were so intent on finding the newborn king of the Jews and so caught up in the wonder of what they were allowed to share that they spared Herod no thought other than the help he could give them on their way. See how joyous they are over re-discovering the star! Note their reverent worship of the child! Feel the emotion that would lead them to give treasures fit for a king to a peasant baby!
There are few moments in life during which we are as caught up in wonder, when we feel joy as intensely, when we respond with such heartfelt worship as the Magi did. Reflection on the coming of Christ and renewed awareness of the enormity of God’s gift of Emmanuel ought to create such a moment for us even as it did for the Magi. God is with us? Joy to the world indeed!
—Dr. Mitzi Minor
- When have you felt something as intensely as the Magi? What prompted your intense feelings?
- What was the most meaningful Christmas you have had? What events, meditations, gifts, family or friends, led to the specialness of this Christmas?
- Reflect on your Christmas seasons of the last several years (including this year). Have they been times of renewed awareness of God’s gift of Emmanuel, or a busy time of little reflection?
- Reflect on the gifts you’ve given God lately. Do they adequately express your gratitude (as did the Magi’s) for the enormity of God’s gift to you?
How Do I Act?
- Share with a friend the joys and frustrations of past Christmases. What can you learn about lessening the frustrations, about what prompts joy. Make plans to make next year different. Write out these plans and put them in a safe place until Advent next year. Review these plans so the Christmas season may be as meaningful as possible.
- In the liturgical calendar, the Christmas season isn’t over until Epiphany. What helps you think about, feel, imagine the enormity of God’s gift—music, long walks, silent prayer in the decorated church sanctuary? Whatever it is, make a date for it on your calendar for next week.
- Reflect about gifts you have received (concrete and intangible). Have you adequately expressed your gratitude? Choose a friend or family member and “go out of your way” to express your thankfulness to them. What would most surprise or delight them? Do it.
- Gather a small group of friends. Discuss the collective gifts you have to offer God. What service project(s) can you accomplish together that you could not do as individuals? Commit yourselves, offer these gifts to God and plan to get the project(s) underway.