It confounds me when I see a Nativity set that features the Wise Men. After all they were not there that joyous night. Yet, this Christmas I find myself desiring to be more like them. Most of us have a few things in common with the Wise Men. However, there is still more that we can do to imitate their offerings of praise.
- Preparation – Anyone who is going to set out from the east and follow a new star has to be prepared. In America we too prepare for our Christmas celebrations. Two things that I especially enjoy this time of year require great effort, preparation and fortitude. I don’t participate in the performing of either of these tasks, but the joy that Christmas cards and Christmas Cantatas bring me is often unmatched by the lights and the other trappings of the season. Our church choir and orchestra put forth more hours than I can imagine in preparing the most awe inspiring musical I have ever enjoyed. I left that Sunday night filled with wonder of how God in the flesh, the Word, the Light came and dwelt among us. Also, every afternoon one of the kids runs to get the mail so they can be the one to open the Christmas cards. Then I stare, often with tears in my eyes, and marvel at how big your kids have gotten and at how blessed I am to have family and friends who love us enough to not only send a yearly picture, but often an encouraging note too. Please don’t ever take us off of your mailing list just because I do not send out cards. We love receiving them. It takes effort to be prepared for Christmas. I pray you will be as prepared to follow Jesus as the Magi were to follow the star. I pray you will remember that the focal point of your preparation is Jesus.
- Pilgrimage – They not only prepared for their journey with what they packed, but they also made the passage. Millions of Americans will travel this holiday season. I was relieved for those flying out of Charlotte today that flights were on time except for those flying to Minneapolis and it only had a thirty two minute delay. The travel plans for the Wise Men were somewhat different than ours today. We have no idea how long it took them exactly, but some seem to think that Jesus was a toddler when they arrived. Sometimes, when you travel with an infant, it feels like your baby will be a toddler before you arrive. I remember when Grace was three weeks old we decided we’d travel at night to help the kids sleep the whole time. It didn’t work. It took us an hour and a half to go three miles before we even left Charlotte. If you’re traveling this year remember to be patient. It will be busy out there. Traveling is not always easy, but we do it every year. Why? Because the people we are going to visit matter to us. They are important. The Wise Men traveled to see the most important person who has ever walked this earth. Why? Because they desired to worship Him. It was a pilgrimage of sort for them. I doubt they realized the significance of this new baby King’s birth completely. I also know it will be easier for you to just stay home, but I hope you will travel this Sunday to church to worship Him with other believers. If you are in the Charlotte area I invite you to join us at University Hills Baptist at 10:30. I pray you will desire to honor Him in worship and adoration.
- Presents – Finally, we prepare by purchasing presents.We spend hours, and often too much money in search of the perfect Christmas gift. As a friend recently told a sales person, about me, “she finishes and then keeps buying.” It’s true. I like to shower people with love in the form of stuff, but not just any stuff…the perfect stuff. The gifts the Wise Men brought were the perfect gifts to give a king. Gold, a precious of metal, was a sign of great wealth and royalty. Incense and Myrrh used for medicinal purposes in nature were precious gifts as well. We have a box that sits empty under our tree. It is the first present that we give each year. It is our gift to Jesus. I’ve mentioned it before in a blog. But every year after the tree is decorated we talk about what we will give Jesus for Christmas. After all, it is His birthday which we celebrate. Then I give each of our kids a Christmas decoration for their future tree or home. I want them to remember Christmas as a special time of celebration. I want them to know that God came to earth in the form of a baby to be the Savior of the World. I pray you will know Jesus as Savior and Lord and be extravagant in your gift of worship to Him.
Merry Christmas from my family. May you be prepared to be filled with joy and wonder as you celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. For He is worthy of all of your planning and preparation. He is worthy of your worship too.
O Come Let Us Adore Him!