There are personal and global situations that can become so all-consuming that they threaten to overwhelm us. We flounder, not knowing what to do or how to unravel the things that are of concern.

“They were overwhelmed with joy.” This phrase is part of the strange account, read in churches at Epiphany, of the wise men (probably more than three and almost certainly not kings) who’d travelled westwards with a star as their Sat Nav, to see and worship a newborn king.

The wise men went to the palace in Jerusalem and innocently asked the megalomaniac King Herod where they might find the new king. “Bethlehem,” his own wise men told him. The travellers duly pressed on to Bethlehem. En route they spotted the guiding star and were “overwhelmed with joy.” Why? The night sky is awe-inspiring and exciting, but “overwhelmed with joy” seems slightly over the top – until you realise where and to whom the star had taken the men: right to the place where Jesus was! In his presence they gave their presents and worshipped.

Jesus’ presence is God’s present to us. Joy indeed! In his divinity he came to earth as a human being. He understands what life is like. Centuries before Jesus’ birth, God reassured his people that, “Your troubles will not overwhelm you.” Like a seesaw we have ups and downs, troubles and joys. Jesus can be the steadying central pivotal point – with us in all circumstances.



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