7 Then Herod secretly called for the magi and determined from them the exact [e]time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.”9 After hearing the king, they went on their way; and behold, the star, which they had seen in the east, went on ahead of them until it came to a stop over the place where the Child was to be found. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And after they came into the house, they saw the Child with His mother Mary; and they fell down and [f]worshiped Him. Matthew 2:7-11 (NASB)
Don’t you like to experience happiness? Do you ever find yourself getting excited or even shouting out loud in response to true stories or happenings of goodness with exuberant joy? I do! In fact, I can sit down and watch “soldiers reuniting with their family” videos or “secret Santa” videos on YouTube for hours. They are addictive! Feelings and emotions come over me that I just cannot explain. I cry right along with those in the videos as if I were standing there with them. I find myself suddenly overwhelmed with emotion because I am so happy for the unexpected joy that has come their way. Before I know it, I am rejoicing with shouts of affirmation and cheers of celebration while I sit in front of my computer screen.
I feel the same way when I read about the Magi coming to Bethlehem to worship the Christ Child. I want to rejoice right along with them. How about the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth or Mary’s song, both found in the gospel of Luke? Don’t you ever wonder how they must have felt in their particular moments of great joy when God did something miraculous in their lives? Does it make you pause and worship or burst out into song? Mary could not keep from voicing her praise: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” And Zechariah was filled with praise: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people.”
What God has done for us in sending His son is worthy of our praise. We should find cause to stop and celebrate and glorify God because of His saving work in history. What God has done through His Son, Jesus Christ, is worthy of our greatest efforts and acts of sincere worship.
It has been a tough year. On that I think we would all agree for sure. We have all faced disappointments, heartache of some degree or another, loss on a large scale in a variety of ways, and unrest in some form. Nonetheless, our hearts are called to rejoice and give thanks! There is so much to be thankful for and endless reasons to worship the God who has remained faithful through it all. He will continue to do so into 2021. Look up! Rejoice! And give God the glory due His name! I promise you; it will make your heart happy.