The Christmas story, as told in Matthew 2:1-12 captures the meaning and purpose of Christmas and how to celebrate Christ the King appropriately.
Christmas remains one of the most celebrated holidays in the world by Christians and non-Christians. Every industry cashes in during Christmas as more merchandise is sold, more travel, hotel reservations, etc. The meaning and purpose of Christmas are lost for many, and the need to intentionally recapture its original purpose has become urgent. Christmas lights, cards, decorations, travels, connecting with families, caroling, and gift exchanges are traditional ways we celebrate Christmas. The sad fact, however, is that we often leave out the Celebrant or have Him on the back burner while we celebrate ourselves instead of Him. We can learn a lot from the Magi to avoid this severe error of our time and celebrate Christ the right way. Here are seven pivotal issues raised in the passage for us to reflect and act on.
Jesus Christ is no longer a baby in a manger in faraway Bethlehem. He is the Lord and lives in the hearts of all who have accepted and welcomed Him. Therefore, the journey we need to take is simply from our heads, where we know Christ, to our hearts, where we revere and yield to His lordship over us.
The Magi did not know where Jesus would be born, so they inquired because they wanted to see Him. The Scribes researched the prophetic books and found Bethlehem to be the birthplace of Jesus. We have the prophetic book, the Bible, and all we need to know about Jesus Christ. At Christmas and always, we should invest more time in reading the scripture. The Holy Spirit will give us understanding, and since Jesus Himself is the Word, He is most pleased that we are spending time with Him. Spending time in the Word is our spiritual act of worshiping Jesus.
Herod wanted to know where Jesus was born, but it was not to worship Him as he claimed. Many want to know about Jesus, but their reasons may be far from worshiping Him.
Now that the Magi knew where to find Jesus, they went, following the instructions that they had. Interestingly, God provided a star to guide them because they were sincere in their search for the Savior. It is true that when we are honest in our desire to worship Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is at hand to lead us. So, we have the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to guide us into authentic and proper knowledge and worship of Jesus Christ.
The Magi saw the star, and they were overjoyed. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we are full of joy and experience an authentic worship and celebration of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Coming into the presence of Jesus Christ, not in Bethlehem or our church building, but right in our hearts, we bow in worship. No one tells us what to do when encountering the King of kings and Lord of lords. We reverently and joyfully bow down in worship before Him. In addition, we give Him an offering of the best that we have.
When we celebrate Jesus Christ as the Magi did, we will hear much more from God, giving us clear instructions on continuing our walk with Him. As the Magi did, we will obey as the Lord directs us, even if we must disregard some earthly kings and leaders.
The Magi planned, made the long trip, inquired, worshiped, gave gifts, and returned home. Until Jesus Christ becomes the center of our Christmas celebrations and the center of everything that we do in life every day, we will be worshiping ourselves while thinking we are worshiping Jesus Christ. Human worship is subtle; sadly, we are engaged in it more than we want to admit. When Jesus Christ is magnified in our lives, we catch a glimpse of Him, and our worship becomes authentic. Other than that, knowing Jesus intellectually does not lead to true worship.
Have a Blessed Christmas and a spiritually enriched New Year.