The Wise Men of the First Christmas (Matthew 2:1-12)
The Christmas story is familiar to most of us – how the Magi (wise men) seeking Jesus followed a star from the East until it stopped over the house where the young Messiah was staying. We may also know that this star was the fulfillment of a prophecy long studied by these wise men. They kept up a constant vigil for years until their persistence was rewarded. They met God in the flesh and had the privilege to worship and bring Him gifts from their treasuries. Then, still being attentive to God’s voice, they obediently heeded the warning about Herod and went home by a different route. A beautiful story for all times. But what about today?
Wise Men Today
Prevailing winds in today’s culture seem to suggest that faith in a God we can’t see amounts to foolishness. Rather than believe in an all powerful Creator, some embrace the notion that earth’s intricate design is the result of a big bang explosion. Or maybe the mindset is that all we see is too much for one Divine being to handle, so there must be many who deserve our devotion. And so the things of God are portrayed as mere fantasy, while those who profess faith are either ridiculed, mocked or considered weak. Yet, 1 Corinthians 1:25 states that “the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
What then is wisdom? According to the book of Proverbs, the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. But what does that mean? Not only to tremble and quake before the living God (although that would indeed be wise)! but also to recognize Him as the source of all life and hope. Without Him we are nothing. It is mere foolishness to deny the existence of God in the face of creation’s majesty. Fancy words and well crafted arguments notwithstanding – God is, and He rewards those wise ones who still seek Him.
The Wisdom of Christmas
1 Corinthians 3:18-19 states “Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become ‘fools’ so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their craftiness.'”
The wisdom of Christmas is that Jesus came not as a conquering king, but as a ‘weak’ or even ‘foolish’ baby fully reliant on Mary and Joseph for care. The true embodiment of Emmanuel, God with us, He made Himself approachable to any and all who seek to know Him. No fancy knowledge or degrees required – just simple belief in who He is and what He’s done.
I pray for the wisdom of God to permeate our hearts this season and always. May we be the wise men who still seek Him – Jesus, who came to seek and save our souls.