As we continue in the Watching Christmas series, I’m looking at the three wise men. They are also referred to as “Magi” because they were astronomers. However, following a special star and bearing unique gifts was their ultimate purpose.
The star guided them from a distance. The gifts told the reason for their destination. Matthew 2:1-12 gives the details of their story.
You and I are on a journey too. As we consider what guides us and the gifts we hold dear, there’s a lot we can learn from the Magi. These star gazers were familiar with constellations. But the star that led them to the Christ child meant more than any other entry on their astronomy chart.
It pointed them to the most important event in human history — God became flesh and dwelt among us.
Upon arrival in Jerusalem, the Magi went to the king’s court to inquire about the Christ child’s birth (vv.1-3). But King Herod was deeply disturbed and tried to hide his desire to get rid of the newborn King.
He asked the Magi to return with news of the child’s whereabouts. However, later, they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod (v.12).
As we seek the Lord about the next leg of our journey, I believe He warns us about detours too. It may be a person, place or a perspective we need to avoid. Our next place in His will is secure. But if we don’t heed His instructions, we can end up far from His plan.
Eventually, the star stopped over the place where baby Jesus lay (vv.9-11). It hovered over the Holy One like a signal to every human soul.
Watching Christmas is for bystanders and believers. But worshiping Christ brings joy to the believing heart.
Let’s watch the Magi’s response:
“They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” v.11
They don’t call them wise men for nothing. Before Christ worked one miracle or died on the Cross, they recognized Who He was. First, they presented themselves to Jesus and enthroned Him in their hearts. Then they opened their treasure and gave Him gifts.
Their worship was an elaborate gift of adoration.
Their gifts were divine statements of affirmation.
Each gift contained spiritual symbolism: Gold represented His Kingship; frankincense signified Him as God and High Priest; and myrrh was a burial balm pointing to His sacrificial death.
Their gift giving to Christ is echoed in our gift giving today. However, in our wish list making, next-day delivery world, it’s easy to become preoccupied with giving to everyone but Jesus — not just at Christmas, but any day of the year.
All He wants from us is a believing heart.
His death and resurrection are our pardon and our power. As we worship Christ, giving to Him and others becomes our lifestyle.
My believing heart imagines the Magi’s journey home. What a story they could tell. Thankfully, as Matthew 2 tells it to us, bystanders can become believers and believers can become more resolved. Because like the wise men, we’re meant to have hope for the heart and joy to the soul.