I understand the meaning of the word “overjoyed”. I saw it acted out before me each morning and evening – any time my husband walked back into the life of our puppy after an absence of some kind, whether it had been an 8-hour day at work or an 8-hour sleep at night. The minute he entered the room he was body-slammed by a wriggling mass of delighted dog, whose joy at being reunited with his master was expressed in every way imaginable.
All the dog’s body parts seemed to be moving at once – tail banging the door frame and furniture, feet prancing from side to side, head and body twisting back and forth as fast as those parts could move. At the same time he was growling his greeting and nipping and chewing on anything that moved in response. In his excitement he even lost control of certain bodily functions, making it necessary to mop floors and shoes when the love-fest had lost some if its initial intensity!
And my husband loved every minute of it! He never tired of it – it was not an experience that grew old in repetition. He came home from a week-long business trip one night, and happy as he was to be returning home to me and our boys, I’m sure it was the thought of the welcome he was about to receive from his dog that put the smile on his face as he drove! As it turned out, I was in the shower when he came through the door, and the boys were playing video games in the basement. But the dog didn’t disappoint him. Without being there to see it myself I know that his ears perked up at the sound of the garage door opening… and that at the slam of the car door he was up and in the doorway waiting, his body already shivering in eager anticipation.
What would happen in our church services if we waited for our Master to enter the house in the same way? If we anticipated His arrival while we were yet on our way to church, and were ready to shout our praise and welcome the moment the first chords were hit on the keyboard and God’s Presence began to fill the room? Can you imagine His delight to find those He loves so glad to see Him, so anxious to spend time with Him again, so ready to adore Him?
And sometimes we do welcome Him in just that way. Our church body shakes and shivers as people react to His Presence in various ways – some jump, others shout, groan, wave their arms or dance in joy before Him. Still others just weep, fall to their knees, or lie before Him and soak in the wonder of His Presence among us. God doesn’t mind that our church services are a little messier than they used to be. He would so much rather we react to Him like this than that we not even notice as He walks among us because our minds are so busy with other things – planning menus, making mental shopping lists or looking forward to our Sunday afternoon naps. Welcoming and rejoicing in His Presence should be the sole reason we come to church, rather than the afterthought we sometimes make it.
The dictionary defines the word “overjoyed” as simply “filled with great joy”. I don’t think that goes nearly far enough. To me it’s an overflow of the heart, as expressed in physical and verbal demonstrations of wonder and incredible happiness. However you describe it, it’s a fitting response to the entrance of the King.
“…in thy presence is fullness of joy…”