WISDOM FROM WE THREE KINGS
Christmas. It’s only a week and a half away. Everywhere you look, there are decorations galore. Christmas music can be heard nonstop on several radio stations. We all have our favorite Christmas tunes we like to sing—whether it’s a classic old hymn like We Three Kings or something more contemporary like Breath of Heaven. And the commercialism of Christmas is everywhere we look, isn’t it? If we’re not careful we can get blindsided and caught up in everything about the season and fall prey to only a brief reflection on the Savior.
So, speaking of that great old hymn We Three Kings, let’s go back and take a look at the story it’s based on from Scripture. Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the days when Herod was king of the province. Some wise men came to Jerusalem inquiring, “Where is this newborn king of the Jews? We’re on our way to worship him.” As you might imagine, King Herod was worried and quite disturbed by their inquiry. So he gathered the priests and scholars together to find out just exactly where this Messiah was to be born. Bethlehem indeed! So Herod sent these wise men on a mission. Picking up the story in Matthew 2:8-12 (J.B. Phillips translation), it reads:
Then [Herod] sent them off to Bethlehem saying, “When you get there, search for this little child with the utmost care…The wise men listened to the king and then went on their way to Bethlehem. And now the star, which they had seen in the east, went in front of them as they travelled until at last it shone immediately above the place where the little child lay. The sight of the star filled them with indescribable joy. So they went into the house and saw the little child with his mother Mary. And they fell on their knees and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts – gold, incense and myrrh.”
I love Herod’s instructions to the wise men. “Search for this little child with the utmost care.” The King James Version renders it this way: “Go and search diligently…” And that’s precisely what they did. Using a star as their guide, they sought out this newborn king. How did that whole “following yonder star” work? How long did it take? Some tradition estimates it to be approximately two years. How determined they must have been to find Jesus and worship Him!
When they reached their destination, when the star shone immediately above the place where the Christ child lay, Phillips writes “the sight of the star filled them w/ indescribable joy.” Yeah, I bet it would! The anticipation of reaching your destination. Not just “a” destination—but an incredible destination. Wow! Did they grasp the significance of the moment? They must have because they fell on their knees and worshiped Jesus. These guys would have been perhaps the first worshipers of our Lord. How cool is that? And after they worshiped Jesus, they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts.
As I reflect on this passage I can’t help but be challenged with a few thoughts. Consider these questions as your challenge this season as well:
- Am I as determined as the wise men to seek out Jesus? — Do I resolutely seek to meet Him daily despite distractions, weariness, busyness, etc.?
- When I meet with Jesus, am I filled with indescribable joy? — We don’t have to have daily quiet times with our Lord, we get to! Am I finding joy in that privilege?
- What does my worship look like? Am I on my knees (either literally or figuratively)? – Am I humble, reverent, and focused on Jesus?
- What treasures or gifts do I bring to Jesus? — Do I bring my best, my first, my finest, and my utmost when I worship or serve Him?
As we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ this season, may we diligently seek Him, find joy in Him, worship Him, and bring our absolute best. Oh, and don’t forget to sing your favorite Christmas tunes as well! 🙂