Today brings us to the fourth and final installment in our series of Advent celebrations.
Each year at Christmas, I am gripped by the journey of the Wise Men. I have this insatiable longing to mine deep down to glean the wonder of their participation in The Story. I ask, “What am I missing? What can I learn? What is still here waiting to be discovered?” When I stop the noise of the holidays, the chaos of our world, the confusion of materialism, the concern for our future, I am left with a stunning sense that this is what Christmas is about. Please join me for their journey in Matthew 2.
Now after 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 Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”
When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:1-5, 7-11)
Yes, the Magi were relentless in their pursuit. They pushed and pressed. But when they arrived, they stopped! They did not keep searching. The star stopped, because the search was over.
Two thousand years later, you and I battle the temptation to search the Internet, to text the tribe, to turn on the TV in pursuing meaning and purpose in life, in seeking genuine, authentic connectivity. We push and we press—toward prestigious promotions, secure retirement plans, full social calendars, platforms of influence, exotic holiday destinations, tech toys, and other mirages of material glee. We place unrealistic expectations on husbands, homes, children, and churches in our own longing for simple soul satisfaction. All to discover the ache surfaces again and again and again.
Now, in the context of Christmas, our Lord lovingly, gently guides us to consider His truth:
The star still stops…with Jesus.
In our push to please, in our pressure to perform: the star stops with Jesus.
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28. (NIV)
In our search for security: the star stops with Jesus.
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” Hebrews 13:5. (NIV)
In our seeking significance: the star stops with Jesus.
“I am the vine and you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him bears much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing” John 15:5. (NIV)
In our longing for intimacy: the star stops with Jesus.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love…” Jeremiah 31:3. (NIV)
With our need to matter somewhere to someone: the star stops with Jesus.
“O Lord, you have searched me and you know me” Psalm 139:1. (NIV)
In our thirst for authenticity: the star stops with Jesus.
“I am the way, the truth and the life” John 14:6. (NIV)
With our yearning for success: the star stops with Jesus.
“By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor in life” Proverbs 22:4. (NKJV)
In our desperate hope for the future: the star stops with Jesus.
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” John 14:27. (NKJV)