The first gift of each new day is the last one of each day: the lights of our small Christmas tree.
The lights accompany me all day long.
I see the lights when I stand at the kitchen counter and chop red pepper and onion for a Mexican taco pie or cherries for the first batches of cherry walnut bread. I see them when I come down the stairs from the garret after an hour of deep sharing and listening with a spiritual direction client. I see them when I walk through the dining room to our bedroom with an armload of fresh laundry. I see them when I sit in the snug, my feet on the ottoman and a book in my hands. I see them when I open the front door after a walk in the neighborhood. I think about the Wise Men who followed the light and when the light of what must have been the most amazing, most dazzling star stopped, they were “overwhelmed with joy” according to the Gospel of Matthew.
I admit I often feel overwhelmed, but not with joy. More often I feel overwhelmed by what I have agreed to do or feel I must or should do. I even feel overwhelmed by all I want to do. Ideas and interests overwhelm me sometimes. And then there is all the pain, the struggles and injustices in the world. How can one not be overwhelmed!!!
But then there are the Wise Men who left their comfortable homes where no doubt servants were ready to handle the everyday tasks of life. They left their responsibilities–advice to give, solutions to offer, leadership to provide, magic to make–and hit the road. They loaded the camels with what they hoped would sustain them, along with the gifts worthy of a new king, but let’s face it, riding on a camel all day couldn’t have been very comfortable. They were mystified by where to find the king and hoped Herod would help, but frankly, he was more intimidating than helpful and they second guessed their decision to consult with him. The wandering continued.
And still the light in all its brilliance moved across the horizon.
Until it stopped, and they were overwhelmed with joy.
And that is my prayer. May I be overwhelmed with joy. Even as I pray for healing of the world and for balm for all those hurt, I pray that I may, too, make room for joy in my heart. May joy be a gift I live and I give.
May you know joy. May you be joy.
May we each be the light.
An Invitation: When have you been overwhelmed with joy? I would love to know.