Sunday, December 27, 2009

One Last Christmas Post, by My Anonymous Friend

Greetings to you on the last Sunday of 2009!

I hope your Christmas was happy and joyous for you and your family.

Before we leave the Christmas theme (it seems the celebrations and festivities begin earlier each year but surely end quickly), I wish to think with you today about the wise men who came to inquire about the birth of Jesus. These men are somewhat mysterious and it is hard to know what is fact and what is tradition and fiction when one reads about them.

I have long been intrigued to think about how motivated these wise men or magi were. They traveled a great distance to find out more about the birth of a King. Perhaps they came from present day Yemen, or maybe from what is today, Iran or Iraq. All are many hundreds of miles away from Bethlehem.

Contrast this with the religious leaders in Jerusalem. They were less than 10 miles from the place of Jesus' birth. I do not read that they had the slightest interest in visiting His birthplace or to visit the Baby themselves. They clearly did not lack for knowledge. When the magi inquired, they appeared to be able to give the correct answer very easily. Their knowledge seems so academic and cerebral. That is as far as things went with them. There is no evidence that any of the religious leaders in Jerusalem cared the slightest wit about the birth of Jesus.

The wise men have much to teach us. Their thirst for information and their desire to worship the new King are inspiring to behold. They were persistent and determined. Unlike most men, they were not afraid to ask for directions!!

Are we content with our knowledge of Jesus? I know it is dangerous to comment on a topic so controversial, but when I listen to music in the worship services of the church today, it seems to me that a very large percentage of it focuses on the fact that Jesus died and rose again for our sins. This is obviously basic and fundamental to the faith and we can never really talk about or sing about this theme too often. However, I am just wondering with you today. Could we not sing about other aspects of Christianity as well? It has been years since I have heard a sermon (or given one for that matter) on the subject of the return of Jesus for example.

I am just musing with you today! What do you think? Those magi, however many of them there were, are truly inspiring! I wonder how long they had to travel to reach Bethlehem? How big was their entourage? What exactly motivated them to check out this story and to follow a star that seemed to point the way for them? How long did they stay in Bethlehem before God impressed on them that they ought not to report back to Jerusalem? We do not know a definite answer to any of these questions. It is clear though that they were motivated. They had focus to their lives. They were on a mission and they were determined to see it through.

Perhaps a resolution that we could make for the year ahead is that we could expand our knowledge of and appreciation for Jesus in some specific ways. Perhaps we might resolve to allow what we know about Christ to impact our lives in some tangible way. We surely do not want to emulate the religious leaders in Jerusalem for whom theology was basically just head knowledge. It surely did not motivate them to action of any sort. I am just wondering!!

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