Wise. Who doesn’t want to be wise? We look for wisdom on the internet, but rarely find it. At this time of year we hustle and bustle about to celebrate Christmas (often reduced to “holidays”) and neglect the three wise men right in front of us. We think of them only as gift bearers as we hurry about decorating, baking and shopping. This morning I was thinking about the gifts they brought to Jesus, gold, frankincense and myrrh, and then realized the three gifts of wisdom that they provide to us:
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, Wise Men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.”
When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then opening their treasures, the offered him gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.Matthew 2:1-2, 10-12
The wise men found great joy – what we all desire. They did not get trapped in what was going on around them. They did not get trapped in the ways of the world or the wishes of the kings of the day. They searched for God. And they found great joy. If we follow their example, we too will find that joy. They worshipped, followed and shared. Three things that each of us can do, wherever we are.
Worship! The wise men traveled from afar to worship Jesus. We sometimes struggle to find time on Sunday to worship God. They spent months traveling just to worship Him. We forget how important that is — to take time to praise Him, to wonder at his majesty, to sit in His glory. We worship sports heroes, political activists, movie stars — for what purpose? We worship social media likes, vacation spots and monetary wealth — to what end? God created all and is all. He is greater than everything and we (or I ) take that for granted. Imagine spending months journeying for one purpose — to worship Him.
Follow! We know the wise men followed the star. But what they were really following was God. They didn’t turn back, even when the journey was hard. They continued to search until they found Jesus. And then they listened and followed the Lord’s instructions about where to go from there. We follow things on social media, we follow trends and we follow politicians. Do we stop to listen to (and follow) God? His word is ever present in the Bible. His guidance is present in the silence of prayer that we often seek to avoid. Can we listen, open our eyes toward the light that He has set before us, and follow?
Share! Of course the wise men shared their treasure with Jesus. But more than that, the wise men did not keep their journey secret. They did not keep Jesus secret. They reached out to others along the way. And when they had met Jesus, they did not rest — their journey was not over. They went back to their country, presumably to share the joy that they had experienced. The world around us is trying to silence God. The wise men came from a world that did not know God. We need to share. We cannot keep the love and joy that comes from Jesus silent. Not during Christmas. Not ever.
I seek wisdom, but more than anything I seek the joy of knowing you and being with you. Help me to journey as the wise men did. Help me to keep going even when the journey is hard or I get distracted. I want to worship you and you alone. I know that no one is greater and nothing is worth more than your love. Help me follow your word, your direction, your way (not my own). Help me to share your love with others so that they too can experience the joy that can only be found in you.