In 2017, New Year’s Day coincides with the day that Christians remember the visit of the Magi (or Wise Men) from the East to baby Jesus and his parents. This day is called Epiphany, which means “a moment of sudden and great revelation or realisation” because the visitors recognised that Jesus was someone very special indeed.
You can read about their journey in Matthew chapter 2. Verse 10 of the story says, “When they [the Magi] saw the star… they were overwhelmed with JOY.”
The New Testament says a lot about joy and following Jesus. For example:
- Just before he died, Jesus told his disciples to abide in his love “so that your joy may be complete”.
- When Paul writes to the church in Corinth, he says that “the fruits of the Spirit are, love, joy, peace…”
- James tells the Christians he’s writing to that they should be joyful even when they have troubles.
- When Paul writes to the Christians in Philippi, he tells them to “rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.”
Take time to reflect on 2016:
- When were you overjoyed?
- When did you experience the joy of following Jesus?
Think about the year ahead, 2017:
- How will you seek joy?
- How will you rejoice in the Lord – even if you are struggling through a time of trial?
- How will you abide in Jesus’ love – so that your joy will be complete?
- How will you display the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, and peace?
As part of our worship service on New Year’s Day/Epiphany, we took paper stars and wrote on them our thoughts and prayers for joy in the coming year. Then we placed them around the foot of the cross at the front of the church.