Happy December to you! What are your plans for the next week? Are you attending some parties? Any concerts? Baking Christmas cookies? Are you wrapping presents? Any decorating? What are your favorite things to do at Christmas? What do you like to do the least?
Christmas is a really festive time of the year, filled with activities and some obligations. In light of this season’s bustling, let’s take a few moments to think about the stuff that happened around Jesus’ birth. While I recognize that Jesus was born about two thousand years ago, such that there wasn’t Tik-Tok, text messaging, highways, flight schedules, microwaves nor automobiles, there was still some noteworthy activity and motion around His birth – like Mary and Joseph making their way to Bethlehem to comply with the census edict of Caesar Augustus. We talked about this in last week’s blog.
For this week, I’d like us to think about the activity or motion that happened with the Magi or wisemen making their way to worship the newborn king. In Matthew 2, we read about the Magi following the star for the King of the Jews that led them to Jerusalem. When we look at the wisemen of this era, we learn that these men came from the East, likely Babylon or Persia.
These men had been educated in astrology and as a result, the star of the King of the Jews motivated them to set out from their homeland and pay homage to this king. When we consider the distance of their travel, we learn that their journey required at least two weeks if they came by camel and more than a month on foot. Additionally, because they were following a star, it’s possible that lots of their journey happened at night since stars aren’t easily seen in the daytime. Finally, when they landed in Jerusalem and enquired about the newborn king, there wasn’t an immediate answer or destination for their enquiry.
King Herod asked the Jewish leaders about the Magi’s search, and he learned about the prophecy from the Old Testament that revealed this king’s location: Bethlehem. So, the Magi set out again, traveling to Bethlehem to find the newborn king.
I bring all of these things to your attention in this season because I think it’s important to consider a few things that we can apply in our lives:
- Looking for Jesus is worth the journey. I think that the Magi experienced great fulfillment when they finally brought their gifts to Jesus. For us, experiencing Jesus is one of the most fulfilling things in our lives.
- Sometimes our journey to find and experience Jesus goes through some dark seasons. To this end, it’s likely that the Magi made lots of their journey at night so they could keep the star they were following easily seen. Even in darkness, let’s keep our eyes on Jesus who is the Light of the world.
- Let’s consider that in the Magi’s journey, they stopped over in Jerusalem to acquire some clarity about their destination. When we sculpt our lives to follow after Jesus, we might sometimes go through some experiences that are unexpected and maybe disconcerting. King Herod wasn’t exactly a wonderful person.
In conclusion, I hope that this blog encourages you in this Christmas season to keep pursuing Jesus because He truly is the reason for this wonderful season!