Summary: The Magi - gentile are invited to be a part of the family of God.
Well, like Christmas, this “perspective series” is coming to an end. I hope that won’t mean that you feel like you can put what you have heard away in a box, like decorations, until next Christmas.
The Christian point of view is just not that way. Christians see Christmas as the beginning of something that has not yet reached a conclusion.
The birth of Jesus the Christ is not a party that expires like eggnog or something that we get tired of like the neighbor that leaves up their decorations all year around. Christmas is something that we should live year around. It is not an event, it is a way of life, a life that lives knowing that God is with us.
Right now much of our culture has hit the bottom of the Christmas excitement. They feel a combination of relief and perhaps a little disappointment. Maybe we feel some of that too.
Our Christmas celebration should be a time of renewal of our faith. It is an event that holds a fond place in our lives. Every year we get a reminder that God demonstrated his love for creation in coming into our world.
As we celebrate Christmas we are reminded of Christ presence and he can be born and reborn in our hearts as we relive the story each Christmas season. This revival of sorts can change everything for us. It can change our perspective to understand how much God loves us.
When I think of perspective I am reminded of a conversation between a father and his young son. The boy was about 5-6 years old. One spring the boy had asked for a spot in the family garden to call his own. He turned the soil, broke the clumps, and planted his favorite vegetable—corn.
Toward the middle of July, The boy was concerned that his corn was not growing fast enough. The father tried to reassure him that the corn was doing just fine by quoting him a benchmark used by farmers, “knee high by the fourth of July.”
The boy thought for a moment and then ask: “My knees or yours?”
Perspectives are often variable and can be connected to something physical, emotional and spiritual.
Let’s read our scriptures this morning:
Matthew 2:1-12 (NIV)
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: "’But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’"
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.
On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
-- From what we read in Matthew, some period of time has passed. Weeks or months perhaps even up to 2 years has gone by since the birth of Jesus.
It seems that things are better for the couple and their child. There is the mention of a house.
This morning we will be looking at the perspective of the Magi.
The Magi are a pretty mysterious group. We don’t know a lot of facts about them although plenty of people have lots of guesses. They guess where they are from, their names, and any number of other traits. Most of what we hear about these foreign visitors falls into the category of educated guesses.
But, there are some things here that we can be sure of because of the scriptures. These men were Gentiles – that is they were not Jews.