Anticipating Joy

“After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.”
Matthew 2: 9-10


The Magi were undeterred by King Herod. Their single-minded focus was on the star. They were determined and devoted in their resolve to follow.

For me, the Old Testament equivalent that comes to mind is the pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night that guided the Israelites on their journey through the wilderness.  The Magi were aliens – what a joy for this Gentile girl to note that God calls all people to follow Him.  God led and they followed.  Their obedience brought great blessing– a timeless truth that still holds today.  Where is God calling me to obedience?

The Magi, I’m sure, traveled both far and uncomfortably.  No fast jets or fast food for this excursion.  Bouncing along on a camel in the desert is no picnic now or then.  But what a reward at the end – they would behold Immanuel, the Christ child, the Messiah.

The end of verse 10 records, “When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.”  It’s interesting to note that the stopping of the star signaled the end of their journey, but they had not yet seen the Christ child.  It was just seeing that the star had stopped that brought great joy.  It is the anticipation of what comes next that brings the joy.

Christmas Eve is a day of anticipation. If you have children in your home, the excitement that is building is almost tangible. No matter what our age, if we are focused on Jesus, our hearts and minds are filled with wonder, eagerness, and expectancy. A heart devoted to following his star will be overjoyed.

To see the star, you have to be looking.  The wise men were looking up to see the star.  A downward focus on the sand, their sore bodies, or the spitting camel would mean a shift away from a fixation on the star.

If my focus is on the star, it will show.  The glory from Him will be reflected and on display with child-like giddiness, laughter, love, and worship.

Lord, I pray today that though my list is long, my heart and my mind would be focused on your star.  Fill me with anticipation of worshiping and wondering.  Help me to reflect your glory to those in my corner of the Arkansas “desert” today.


       Laura Macfarlan


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