Joy is Possible Wherever You Are on the Journey

Last week, January 6, or Epiphany, marks the culmination of the kings’ long journey from the East, their long-awaited arrival at Bethlehem, at the child Jesus’ house. When the star finally stopped, the narrative in Matthew 2 notes that these wise ones were “filled with joy.” It's too easy to completely miss joy at this point in the narrative and maybe at this point in January, 2011.

There’s a certain relief in finishing anything. But the text clearly states that the outcome of the trip was one of joy as the travelers were finally able to present their gifts to the boy king. This has helped to assess things spiritually at least. How did December go? Was there something life-giving in it? Did I receive any of the peace and love and joy that I wished others and also sang, taught, prayed, and talked about over the last month?

It is God’s joy in us, an overabundance of it, that moves us toward joy. Authentic joy is our birthright as beloved children of God. It's too easy to miss the result of the journey. Part of the journey is receiving joy. Or at least, agreeing with God. And if whatever spiritual practice we’re observing isn’t bearing this fruit, maybe it's time to discover something that can help us move closer in the direction of joy.

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