Christmas is filled with grand traditions for most families and communities. Going home means seeing the worn nativity scene on the mantel like it is every Christmas and simple faded ornaments made by the hands of children who have long been adults. But with the comfort and joy of tradition, there may be a need for something fresh and new!
A Seekers Reflection
Matthew 2: 10 -11 (NAS)
“And they came into the house and saw the child with Mary His mother; and they fell down and worshiped Him; and opening their treasures they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed from their own country by another way.”
“By some we are known as Magi, by others wise men, and still others kings. Scholars have speculated about our number, our origin and position – some have given us names. There is one thing for certain – we are searchers.
We each began the journey determined to find the one announced in the heavens. None knew the destination, but faithfully followed our calculations until it was apparent the search ended in Judea. It was obvious that such an event as we eagerly sought could only occur in the capital city of Jerusalem. To our amazement there was no sign of celebration in the city. None even knew of the great event; the city of Jerusalem was unaffected – and yet we had traveled so far.
With the help of Herod the Great and his scholars of ancient Jewish religious writings it was discovered that the event was predicited to occur in Bethlehem, a small hillside town south of the capital city. How strange that Herod did not know of his successor’s birth, how odd that the people in the markets and streets were so unaware of the birth of their king.
As peculiar as Jerusalem’s silence was to us, it could not compare to the startling discovery of the chamber that housed the king. It afforded little more than shelter. There were no attendants and certainly none of the appointments expected at a royal birth.
We were confused and disappointed over such a humble setting and simple family, it hardly seemed worthy of the journey. But there was something special there…there was something powerful about the helpless child!
‘No words can tell of the wonder we felt – no words were spoken, but in that speechless moment – we knew that for each of us the real searching of our hearts had now just begun…’
Each examined his treasury carefully before choosing. Not any gift would do, this was an offering to unknown royalty in a distant rule.
- GOLD – the most precious of metals
- FRANKINCENSE – fragrant resins used in worship, burned in honor of kings
- MYRRH – a perfume used in embalming and an ingredient of holy anointing oil
Each selection was taken from the choicest reserve. Each was an act of respect and homage to an heir apparent – the Crown Prince. As generous as these gifts were – they were but trinkets in comparison to the gift that would have most honored the infant King: our hearts, our lives and our all.”
They came searching with some expectations and hope – but what they found changed all they knew – in more than one sense they went home a new way!
Enjoy the traditions but don’t miss the unexpected. This Christmas you could come home a new way.
• commitment to encouragement
• dedication to selfless giving
• focus on hope
• attitude of gratitude
Dr. Bill Heston
Howard Payne University
Dr. William Heston was minister of pastoral care at Houston’s First Baptist Church; clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and a marriage therapist licensed by the state of Texas. He has also led seminars at First Place Conferences.