“When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.” Matthew 2:10
Children know the secret: they live for fun and joy. As you age, those times and experiences of unabashed joy are much more fleeting. That’s why when we do have moments of joy, they are often overwhelming. Clearly this was the case when those who traveled from a distance encountered the baby Jesus.
Traditionally we understand Epiphany to be the manifestation of Jesus as the Christ. Each Sunday during this season, we hear of different familiar narratives in our Gospels about how Jesus was made known as the Christ. The visit of the Magi, Jesus’ baptism, and Jesus’ first miracle of turning water into wine at a wedding are all hallmarks of this manifestation. Each event, in its own way, brought a sense of joy.
In my experience, this is one of the primary responses people have to encountering Jesus as the Christ. Articulated in a variety ways, the core emotion is joy: often overwhelming joy. Sometimes that happens at our own weddings, at the baptisms of our children, when being affirmed for using our gifts, or when reconciling with someone with whom we have fallen out of relationship.
My hope for all of us this Epiphany season is that we will, as we commit to in our Baptismal Covenant, “…seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself.” For in doing so — we, too, just might find that we will be overwhelmed with joy!