I am sitting in South Georgia on New Year’s Day reviewing next week’s sermon. New Year’s Day is almost over; many will return to normal routines in the next few days. In most minds Christmas is over. Yet, we are only midway through the season of Christmas. Did you know that the Christmas season (on the Christian calendar) does not end until January 6. Perhaps you have heard of the twelve days of Christmas. January 6 is Epiphany, the celebration of the Magi’s visit to young Jesus. I will not spoil the sermon for Sunday by giving you details of this visit. The story centers on a group of king’s representatives seeking the newly arrived King in Bethlehem. They first go to Herod, the region’s political king. They figure he must know of the birth. When Herod hears of the possibility of another king, he freaks out. He slays all toddlers in the city. His response to the birth of Jesus reveals selfish ambition; his act causes much heartache for the mother’s of Bethlehem.
The story is of one of kings and their response to Jesus. The Kings or representatives of Kings (the wise men) travel great lengths, giving of themselves. The King of Judea (Herod) goes to great lengths to protect himself (his right to rule). Do we find ourselves more like the wise men or Herod? Do we bring gifts, giving of ourself for Jesus. As we care for those who are oppressed, downtrodden, those in need, we care for Jesus. Matthew relays Jesus’ words,
(Matthew 25:45 NIV) I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.
Or do we cling to control like Herod, destroying innocent bystanders in the process? Can you imagine God in our midst? There he was in a house with Mary and Joseph. May we find ourselves as the Magi, submitting ourselves to Him, bringing gifts to the true King.
As we explore Epiphany on Sunday (or as you celebrate it this week on January 6), may our hearts and minds be enlightened by this story. May we be challenged to worship as the Magi. May we bring appropriate gifts to the King. May our own agendas be put to death for His agenda.
We wish you all a happy new year today and pray that 2012 would be year of spiritual blessing for you. We pray that your hearts will be drawn to the Savior who gave Himself for you.
(1 Corinthians 16:23–24 NIV) The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love to all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen.