The Wise Men
1When Jesus was born in the village of Bethlehem in Judea, Herod was king. During this time some wise men from the east came to Jerusalem 2and said, “Where is the child born to be king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
3When King Herod heard about this, he was worried, and so was everyone else in Jerusalem. 4Herod brought together the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses and asked them, “Where will the Messiah be born?”
5They told him, “He will be born in Bethlehem, just as the prophet wrote,
6 ‘Bethlehem in the land
you are very important
among the towns of Judea.
From your town
will come a leader,
who will be like a shepherd
for my people Israel.’ ”
7Herod secretly called in the wise men and asked them when they had first seen the star. 8He told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, let me know. I also want to go and worship him.”
9The wise men listened to what the king said and then left. And the star they had seen in the east went on ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10They were thrilled and excited to see the star.
11When the men went into the house and saw the child with Mary, his mother, they knelt down and worshiped him. They took out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh and gave them to him. 12Later they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, and they went back home by another road.
In the dark night sky the Magi found a pinprick of light that pierced to the heart of their deepest longings. Packing up their treasure and risking their reputations, they set out on a journey inspired by hope – hope in the birth of a child who transcended the wisdom of the ages.
Like this story-telling star, we see signs of our great hope despite the unrelenting darkness stretching from horizon to horizon. It is the beacon enhanced rather than diminished by the black night sky. It is there for the sojourners who fix their gaze above and search diligently for it. Because he is born, hope is born.
This hope is not in the righting of all our life circumstances. It is not even that we would understand the cosmic battle raging around us. It is simply an invitation to be in the presence of the person of Jesus, the Christ, the light of the world. To know that he has entered our world of jealous tyrants and displaced peoples and to simply kneel at his side in wonder is cause for all-surpassing joy.
This Christmas may you see the sign of the star as our great hope in Christ. Do not be overcome by the darkness, for our Saviour has in small and mighty ways conquered the kingdom of night. He is the King the heavens point to, the One we have long searched for, the Gift worthy of sacrifice, risk and worship. Be led by the light into the kingdom of His light.
Light of the World, you are present in our darkest places. May we seek the signs of your victory over the kingdom of night. Lead us to a place of hope as we bring all that we have to you in adoration. In the name of the Son, Amen.