After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1–2 (NIV)
Last year, I wrote in a post that the carol “We Three Kings” has a number of inconsistencies with the scriptural account – there may or may not be three, they certainly were not kings and they came from the east but not from the Orient. This Christmas I’m thinking about the truths that this carol contains – that wise people from outside of the tribes of Israel came to offer gifts and behold the glorious king.
Throughout this season many are proclaiming that the Christ has been born. We have seen the signs – lights and stars are all around us. Now is the time for a profound question: will you, like the Magi, come and worship Him? These ‘astronomers with means’ gave up their time, their treasure, and their standing in the community to follow the star and bow before a royal baby from another realm. Are you willing to do the same?
Celebrating Christmas will take our time. The ‘wise men’ took the time to investigate what the new star meant and the time to travel to Jerusalem. We take the time to prepare as we decorate, shop and make arrangements. There is the time it takes to travel to visit friends and family. There is the time it takes to build relationships. In the span of four weeks, we who celebrate the Lord’s advent can feel rushed and frazzled with all the plans and preparations we need to make. We need to take a hint from the Magi – we need to focus less on the time we are spending and more on the one we are coming to worship.
Celebrating Christmas will take our treasure. The ‘wise men’ gave their treasure – gold, myrrh and incense – to bestow prophetic and meaningful gifts to the King. We give our treasure – the gifts we give to those we love and appreciate – to express our joy of the season. We spend so much on ourselves and others in December that sometimes we wonder if it is worth it. We need to take another hint from the Magi – we need to focus less on the treasures we are giving and more on the one we are coming to worship.
Celebrating Christmas will take our standing in the community. The ‘wise men’ risked their reputations and their lives to follow the star. We, too, risk our reputations as we celebrate ‘the reason for the season’. Greeting cashiers with ‘Merry Christmas’ and focusing on the infant resting in the manger is not met with appreciation in all places. Still we maintain the glory of the truth that God is with us. We need to take another hint from the Magi – we need to focus less on the taunts we are receiving and more on the one we are coming to worship.
Have yourself a merry Christmas as you follow that star and worship the king.