The Christmas Story - Week 2

Monday, December 13, 2010

Week 1 covered Matthew 1:18-25. Today we will continue with Matthew's version of the Christmas story, with five kings: three wise, one mean, and one just a baby.

The Visit of the Magi, 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 in the east 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 Christ 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 be the shepherd of 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 make a careful search 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 in the east 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 and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

I find the wise men inspirational for many reasons:
(1) They only vaguely knew where they were going. And yet, they went. They traveled on faith.
(2) They put titles and social order aside. These three kings went to worship a baby.
(3) They didn't let the world distract them. King Herod wanted to kill Jesus, and he tried to trick the Magi into revealing Jesus' location. They didn't fall for it.
(4) They knew how to be reverent. They bowed down and worshiped the Christ child. They presented him with finest gifts.
(5) They were brave. They defied Herod, one of the most ruthless rulers in all of history.

I hope to use them as my guide this week, and follow their example.
(1) I want to move purposefully by faith, in all that I do.
(2) I want to let go of titles and class and social order.
(3) I want to see through the world's schemes, and keep my eye on the star.
(4) I want to be reverent and quiet.
(5) I want to make courageous choices for Christ, always.

I don't know if I will get the chance to do all of that, but if even one opportunity is born, I hope that I remember, and follow, the Magi.

Do the Magi inspire you? I encourage you to think about them this week, and share any thoughts you may have. . .

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