The Advent season is a time of anticipation, waiting, and preparation. During the month of December, Time With God will break from its regular format to explore selected passages and characters connected with the coming of Jesus, Emmanuel, God with Us.
I have a lot of favorite scenes in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, is visited by three ghosts who teach him profound truths about Christmas and about himself. One of my favorite scenes is when he meets the Ghost of Christmas Present. Scrooge is roused from his sleep by laughter and a great light coming from the adjoining room. He timidly opens the door and looks inside to see the origin of the laughter and light. The Ghost of Christmas Present exhorts, “Come in and know me better.” I love that invitation. I believe that was the spirit with which the Magi traveled to see Jesus. They were following the star so that they might better know the one who was born.
READ THE WORD: MATTHEW 2:1-11 (ESV)
2:1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 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.” 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 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. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 6 “‘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.”7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 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.”9 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. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 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.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
RESPOND TO GOD
We don’t know very much about these Magi who traveled to see the newborn King of the Jews. Magi perhaps means wise men or astrologers. What impresses me is that they traveled a long distance, based on the knowledge they had, in order to see and know the King of the Jews better. Their hearts’ desire was to worship this child to whom the star led. We may be tempted to ask so many questions about them. Where did they come from? Where did they get their information? What was the star? How far did they travel?
God somehow invited the Magi to come and know him and his son better, and because of that invitation they had come to worship him. Worship means to value something greatly. It means that we recognize its value and give it the proper recognition. That is the main point of these Magi. They recognized the true value of this child and worshipped him. The obvious question for us is whether we have done the same. They came from a distant land to worship. Do we align our lives and schedules to worship Jesus each day? Are we driven, as they were, to come and know him better? He truly is worth of our efforts of worship.