The wise men did not come from “a fire” as many southerners seem to think, but from “afar” or from “the East” as stated in the Bible!
Seriously, have you thought about the magi? Because a star appeared, they determined that a king had been born in Judea. They followed the bright star, consulted with King Herod to see what information he could share, and then returned to their course, following the star until they found baby Jesus.
I have always though that it must have been a shock to them to find a king in such a humble setting with a young woman as his mother and an older carpenter as his father. Their expensive gifts must have seemed, even to them, totally inappropriate to the circumstances of Jesus, the King born in Bethlehem. But, the scripture does not describe the magi as uncomfortable at all. Instead, the magi recognized the king and bowed in reference to him. In a word, they worshipped the Christ child.
When we visited Peru a few years ago, I was overwhelmed by the opulence in the cathedrals that we visited. The altars were gorgeous. The side chambers were filled with amazing art and gold covered architectural furnishings. Even the floors were beautiful. It was too much. I had a tough time staying focused on the words of our tour guides. My eyes wandered from place to place. I would be reading a pamphlet on the historic significant of an item and find myself looking up at the ceilings, amazed that even the surfaces above me were decorated with intricate carvings and detailed paintings.
The magi were not like me in Peru; they were focused. They did not worship the star – the star was only a guiding light. They did not worship kingly opulence; King Herod was a source of information, not a distraction. They did not wonder at the humble beginnings of Jesus; they bowed down and worshiped. Their robed knees went to the floor, be it on a hay strewn stable floor or a dusty surface in a humble home.
Are you distracted this Christmas? Are there too many lights, ads on TV, and “Christmas specials” on the Hallmark channel? Is the rich food making you feel tired and weary? Are you worried about the family you will see next week or your broken relationships with friends?
Focus, my friend, focus on the baby. Think about God making Himself as completely vulnerable as we are. Consider the Messiah who came to give Himself for us.
Focus, my brother and sister, on Jesus. Trust me, the rest of the world will fall into its right place.
(Matthew 2:1-12) “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.”
“When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
“Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
“After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.”
Jill (Just one of God’s kids)