Worship Like a Wise Man (or Woman) (Advent Devotion) - Saturday, December 29

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."  (Matthew 2:1-2 ESV)

The Wise Men so often get relegated to the background of both the Nativity Scene and the Nativity Story. While we don’t know that much about them, Matthew’s account should spur us on to see the magnitude and the mystery of the Epiphany story.

Magi (magicians, or astrologers) from far away appear in Jerusalem asking, “Where is the Newborn King of the Jews?” We saw something in the heavens that moved us. It moved us to invest significant time and treasure into the search.

They were not discouraged by the distance, or by showing up in the wrong city, or by the less than sincere cooperation of Herod, the reigning Jewish King. They were driven and they pressed on. To what end? To find the King and worship him.

There is so much we wish we knew, and the clutter of romanticized Christmas accounts blind us to the answers. We take our clues from Matthew’s account. Herod was shaken by the news. The city was agitated to its roots over these visitors and their quest. “Where is He?” and nobody seemed to have a clue.

So God intervenes. The star reappears, and moves, and stops, and shouts, “He is HERE.” Into the house they go and there he is: no longer an infant in a manger, but a young child who by now is walking and maybe even talking. The journey had been that long. And they worship.

How did they worship him? Bow down and give gifts. A quick visit, in and out? Probably not. The best guess is: They spent lots of time with the toddler Jesus. They came, and they stayed, but we aren’t told for how long. And they gave gifts. Not just a few little presents, nicely wrapped with bows, they brought treasure, lots of treasure. This is what it means to worship, to invest significant time and treasure to honor the King.

Jesus is with us now, and our calling is to worship and share His story.

King Jesus, you came to bring changes to the world. Now use me to bring change to the hearts of those I engage with, each and every day. Amen.

Rev. Robert Gebel, Milwaukee, Wisconsin