Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him."… After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:1-2, 9-11.
I imagine if we conducted a nationwide survey of peoples’ favorite holiday, Christmas would be number one by a landslide. Folks tend to be in a better mood during the month of December. Thanksgiving has just happened and now it is time to get gifts and plan parties for our loved ones. Christmas trees and lights are on display, and holiday music fills the airwaves. Then, after Christmas we have a week to reflect upon the past year as we look hopefully into the new one. It’s certainly understandable why Christmas is a favorite time of year.
It was a great time for the magi as well. These three men were Gentile students of astronomy and astrology. They studied the sky and were in tune to the ways the Almighty Creator would often speak through heavenly signs and wonders. The appearance of the Star of Bethlehem was one of these signs, and a big one. There is a born a new King of the Jews, a monarch so great that He is worthy of His own star. This was a King to bow down and worship.
So the three magi followed the star and made their way to Jesus. When they arrived, they did two things of particular note. They bowed before Him and gave Him treasures. By bowing, they showed their ultimate reverence and submission to His Lordship. They recognized that this was a leader sent by God that must be sought out and worshipped.
Then by giving Him treasures, they showed their devotion. A treasure is something that we value greatly and do not part with easily. And so these magi gave perhaps the most valuable things that they owned, gold frankincense, and myrrh. This was a king worthy of such a person sacrifice.
As we bow before the King this Christmas and reflect on the transition to a new year, may we consider the treasures that we are willing to give. For some, it is more of our time devoted to prayer, study, and worship. For others it may be devoting more finances or service to the church, more love to our family, or more giving of our control over to the one who really is in control of it all.
Another ‘treasure’ can be our own sins and vices. A treasure is something we greatly value and don’t part with easily. Some of us have been living with guilt, anger, pride, selfishness, unrighteous anger, hurt, and a whole host of other sins and vices that we hold very tightly. While these things are negative, we grow so accustomed to them that they become part of who we are, and they are hard to let go. Yet these ‘treasures’ must also be surrendered as we come to the thrown of grace.
May this Christmas season be a great time of celebration and reflection for us all. Time to worship the king and give Him our treasures. May we, like the magi, rejoice with an exceedingly great joy.
-- Pastor Justin
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