Angela and I have always started decorating for Christmas right after Thanksgiving. Years ago, we were given a beautiful nativity set. Our daughter, when she was young, took it upon herself to move the wise men an inch closer every day to the manger scene. Finally, they arrived on Christmas day (she understands the timeline better now). It has always been a special part of our holiday season.
Matthew chapter 2 describes the journey of the wise men. Verses 1-4 mention how they first came to Jerusalem looking for the newborn King, “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’ When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.” The wise men followed the star and came to Jerusalem. The birth of a potential rival intimidated Herod. He sought for more information.
In verses 5-6, Herod is introduced into prophecy, “They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: ‘‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’’” The Jewish leaders read Micah 5:2 to him. They had known for hundreds of years that the Messiah (Jesus) would be born in Bethlehem.
Matthew 2:7-11 continues the story, “Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.’ After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”
We used to decorate the outside of our house with just a star. I love the simplicity of the star and the amazing complexity to realize the solar system focused on Jesus.
The wise men arrived at the house where Jesus was. They worshiped Him and gave Him gifts.
Solomon wrote Psalm chapter 72 about 900 years before the wise men began their adventure. In verses 10-11, he described their trip this way, “May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands render him tribute; may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts! May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him!” Royalty and gifts surrounded the baby Jesus, the King of kings.
The religious leaders knew the Messiah was coming and ignored Him. Eventually, they mocked, beat, and killed Him. Pastor Rick Warren wrote, “Don’t be like the religious leaders who were more concerned with tradition. Follow the example of the wise men, and seek God this Christmas. It’s the reason we celebrate Christmas – God wants to connect with you!”
Wise men still seek Him.
Wise men still bring Him gifts.
Wise men still fall down before Him.