Perhaps, like many of us, you are beginning to put away the Christmas trimmings, packing them up for another year.
But what about the people we have studied this month? Like us their lives continued on. The angels returned to heaven. The shepherds followed the sign they were given, found the baby in a manger, and told everyone they met all they had experienced. But they too eventually settled back into their routine.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth and Zechariah learned for the first time what it means to be the parents of a toddler. Mary and Joseph discovered diapering, feeding, and cuddling their little child who also became a toddler.
Mary and Joseph evidently found friendship and comfort in Bethlehem and stayed there for several months, when one day, they had a huge surprise. Magi from the East came to visit them. Imagine this intrusion in the small shepherding village of Bethlehem when the strangers appeared in their finery and strange clothing.
The Magi first went to Jerusalem to inquire about the special child, asking,
“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” Matt. 2:2
I’ve always wondered who these gifted stargazers were anyway? Were they from Persia or the surrounding area? How did these easterners know anything about a Jewish King? Why did they even care?
I’ve wondered about the influence of Jews like Esther and Mordecai, who were taken into captivity centuries earlier. Did their influence carry down through the centuries? Somehow these astrologers knew what to look for in the heavens, recognized the signs in the sky, and knew to match these signs to the promised Hebrew Messiah. Not only that, they wanted to “worship him.”
Jerusalem seemed the logical place to find the king of the Jews, but Herod the Great was not so “great” about knowing Jewish things. Since he was an Idumean, he had to call in the chief priests and teachers of the law to find out where the “promised one” was to be born. The leaders knew right away—Bethlehem.
The Magi turned toward Bethlehem and once again their guiding star appeared to them.
…and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star they were overjoyed. Matt. 2:9-10
Had you remembered that the star appeared a second time? What an assurance to them.
After the first sight of the special star, much time had passed. They traveled a great distance, so when they arrived, they did not find a baby in a manger.
On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Matt. 2:11
Jesus is no longer a baby, but a child. He is not in a manger, but a house. As they had planned, they bowed down and “worshiped him.”
As we launch into our new year, may we be found bowing down to worship Him. You may worship Him with eyes closed or open. You may be in church, on the back porch, driving in the car, or sitting in your devotional chair, but I encourage you on some days to literally bow, get on your knees, even prostrate yourself face down and worship Him.
May you have a glorious, meaningful New Year.
~ Joyce ~