Magi 5

Jeremiah 33:14-15

There is a sense of peace that comes with Christmas. Gathering with family and friends in the comfort of our homes, watching the bright lights of the Christmas tree, knowing that there is a general feeling of love and compassion in the world at Christmas can bring a sense of serenity.

While the celebration of the holiday can be a time of fun and laughter, we must also remember the way in which God’s promises are fulfilled in the birth. We have already seen that this gift of God’s love, the baby Jesus, was a gift intended for us since the beginning. We have already seen that Jesus came to save us from our sins and offer us everlasting life. We have seen that this gift of grace was meant for all people; the rich, the poor, the righteous and the outcast.

Now we look back again at the prophets of old to see the promise that God has made. According to the prophet Jeremiah what will God do? What type of king will Jesus be?

Once more we see the Bible telling us that Jesus was more than just a good man, more than a compassionate teacher. We see again that the baby born was a descendent from David, a child born to be a king. We know, however, that Jesus is more than just an earthly king. He is the spiritual king.

And knowing this should bring us a sense of peace in our hearts. Knowing that Jesus was born to be the king who will do what is just and right should give us the serenity that comes with assurance, of knowing that we are ruled by a righteous and holy king, a king not of this earth.

This Christmas let us remember that Christ is our king. He is the Lord who was born to bring justice and righteousness to the world. He has come to bring us peace.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What can bring you a sense of peace this holiday season?

Magi 4

Luke 1:28-33

Christmas is a time of happiness and joy. It is a time to find gladness in knowing we have received the gift of God’s love and mercy. But the baby we celebrate is more than just an expression of love to give us hope and peace.

At Christmas we celebrate the gift from God, the baby Jesus given to save us. We likely have a Nativity scene set up somewhere to remind us of the story. And at the center of that comforting tableau is a baby in a manger, a child born to a young mother.

In Luke 1 Mary is visited by an angel who gives her some exciting news. How does he greet Mary? What is Mary’s reaction? What wonderful things are promised about the child?

The angel, Gabriel, has some information for this young woman. Gabriel has the advantage in that he knows what will happen with the child that will be born. Mary is not yet aware of all that will happen and so reacts with a bit of worry.

But the angel explains the importance of the birth of this child. It is not just any child who will be born. This child will have an incredible future.

Gabriel explains that the baby, Jesus, will be great. He will be the Son of God. As the Son of God, Jesus will receive the authority of God. He will be a great king. He will be part of the royal lineage passed down from Abraham to Isaac to David and to Solomon. And what is more his kingdom will never end.

In this prophesy from the angel Gabriel we see the majesty and glory of who Jesus is. He is more than just a child. He is more than the son of an average mother and a working father.

Jesus is a great king. But he is more than just a king in the earthly sense. He is a king in the spiritual sense. He is the Son of the Most High God, and therefore his realm is all the earth and all of our hearts.

Christmas is more than just a time to exchange presents. It is more than just a time of joy and happiness. It is also a time where we recognize the spiritual kingship of Jesus, and worship and praise him for who he is.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How will you give honor to Jesus this Christmas?

Magi 3

John 1:15

Christmas can be a time of contrasts. While the weather outside may be dreary and depressing, the season brings its own warmth. While the dark days of winter are upon us, there is the light of joy and hope in us. While we celebrate the birth of a child, a child born in a simple setting to poor parents, we also celebrate a great king.

The Gospel of John gives us some understanding of who Jesus is in the opening verses. It speaks of Jesus being the “Word” of God. Jesus was a part of God and remains a part of God. Jesus is the light of humanity.

The Gospel of John also speaks about John the Baptist. This prophet proclaimed the coming of the Messiah, the coming of the Savior who had been hoped for and sought after. What does John the Baptist say about Jesus? How was Jesus “before” John the Baptist?

At first glance this verse may seem a bit convoluted and confusing. Jesus came after John. Jesus surpassed John. Jesus was before John.

John the Baptist first states that Jesus has come after him. We know through Luke 1 that John the Baptist was born first, born to Zechariah and Elizabeth, a cousin to Mary. In this way John came first.

But now John the Baptist claims that Jesus was before him. John is acknowledging what has been said earlier in this gospel. Jesus – the Word – was with God in the beginning. Jesus, as a part of God, has been present since before John was conceived.

John the Baptist also points out that Jesus has surpassed him. John the Baptist was an important figure in the good news from God and an important figure in the Christmas story. But Jesus is far greater than John ever was.

Jesus is the very Son of God. He was given as a gift to the world, a gift to all humanity. He came to be our Savior, the Messiah who would remove our sin and despair and give us joy and hope and peace.

Like John we must acknowledge the sovereignty of Jesus. We must see that this baby we celebrate is more than a child. Although born in humble surroundings he was born the king of all things.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How will you keep Jesus as the king at Christmas?

Magi 2

Micah 5:2

As we decorate for Christmas we pull out all the old ornaments we have collected over the years. Each has a memory and a story for us, but some of my favorite decorations are paper plates that bear the handprints of our children. When our children were in pre-school they dipped their palm in green paint and then pressed their hands on a paper plate.

These are simple things – inexpensive paper, cheap paint – but they are a reminder of how little and innocent our kids were so many years ago. I treasure these ornaments.

We are all familiar with where Jesus was born. We know the story of how Joseph had to go back to the town of his heritage and register for a census. He went to Bethlehem, a small town south of Jerusalem. It was considered a back-water kind of place, insignificant and unimportant.

But the prophet Micah has a message from God about this little town. Although it may on the surface be perceived as unimportant it would play a crucial role in God’s plan. How does Micah describe Bethlehem? Who will come from this town?

We can look at the town of Bethlehem now with some reverence and wonder. It is important to us. It was the place where Jesus was born. And again we are reminded of who Jesus is.

This humble birth that we celebrate at Christmas was really a very special birth. This little baby was truly someone great and wonderful. The baby was really a king, one who would rule over Israel. Although not the kind of ruler people may have expected, not the kind of ruler we may imagine when we think of kings, Jesus is still truly the king of all people. He is our Lord.

His origins are from ancient times. He was with God in the beginning. He has been part of God for all time.

As we go through the holidays this year we must remember how important the place of the birth was and how important the baby still is. We must recognize the Lordship of Jesus; see him as the king that God has sent to rule in our hearts.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What will help you remember who Jesus really is this season?

Magi 1

Matthew 2:1-2

This Advent season we are looking at the meaning of Christmas. What is the point and purpose for all the familiar stories related to the birth in Bethlehem? The same question can be asked about the holiday season we celebrate. What is our focus?

So often the Christmas holiday becomes all about the gifts. And if we are able to look beyond the gifts we may focus instead on the traditions – the meals, the gatherings with friends and family, the decorations, the trees and the lights.

All of these are wonderful parts of the celebration of Christmas but at the center is the baby born in the manger. What do we know about the baby Jesus?

We see the beginning of who this child is with the story in Matthew 2. Who came to visit the baby after he was born? Who are they looking for? What was their sign?

We often depict the Magi as kings from foreign countries. The tradition began, I believe, because of the gifts they brought and the attitude they had in their visit. They had expensive, valuable presents to give the child and as they sought him out they went first to King Herod. After all, for such an important birth the ruler of the land would certainly know where the child was.

But the Bible refers to these visitors as “Magi,” wise men. These men may not have been kings, but instead were very intelligent scholars. They were wise. They had been studying the skies and had seen a supernatural indication that something special had taken place. A bright, unusual star had appeared in the skies and moved to indicate where a special birth had taken place.

Who was this child who had been born? We simply refer to him as Jesus, but these wise men knew him to be a king. He was a person of great value, a person with wonderful power and authority. This was why they came to give gifts, to honor this great king.

As we celebrate Christmas we must remember that this tiny, helpless child who was born was actually indeed a great king. He was the Son of God and as the child of God he was the king of all kings on earth. He was and still is the Lord of all rulers.

We must work to have the wisdom of the Magi. We must be wise enough to recognize that Christmas centers on the child king that was given by God to rule over all of us in tremendous love.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you remember that Jesus is the king?