Summary: The Magi came in the dark to the Light. Harod stays in the dark.
Acknowledgement – I found great value in a Christmas Sermon series by Darren Ethier – A fellow contributor to this site. His sermons are called “Christmas Perspectives Series.”
Most of you will recall that in these last few weeks of the year we are looking at the event of our savior’s birth through the perspectives of the people that were there. We started with Joseph and Mary and how their perspective did not match the culture , probably because of the message from the angels.
Last Week, I continued the Christmas Perspectives series of messages by examining into how the Christmas Story would have appeared to the shepherds. This familiar story became more personal to us as we realize that all too often we feel that we have nothing to give. That concept is reinforced by our culture and all that it says we need to be and do to be “Really” happy. Through the Shepard’s eyes we learned that God’s message of Great joy the good news was given to those that would listen and respond. It was not given directly or automatically to the religious, or wealthy. It was given to the workers that most people looked down on because they were considered insignificant. The shepherd’s response was to give the message to all the folks in the town. Just share what they heard and saw with the people that were too busy and missed it.
As I pick up on the message for this week. I hope that you will discover, as I have and am still, that our perspective of the Christmas Story can at times be very shallow and distanced from the closeness that God would have us experience in this present day. Christmas is not merely about an event that took place a long – long time ago in a distant foreign place. It is about an event that can take place in our lives in the present as the Christ child is born or reborn in our hearts through our faith in Him.
Remember, our perspective on something will shape our actions, our reactions, and even our lack of action in circumstances, experiences and relationships with people.
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 the familiar benchmark used by farmers, “…knee high by the fourth of July.”
The boy thought for a moment and then ask: “My knees or yours?”
The only connection between this example and today’s message is that just as there were two differing perspectives. Today we are going to look at two differing perspectives in connection with our scripture:
Matthew 2:1-20 (NIV)
1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 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." 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 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. 5 "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: 6 "’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.’" 7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 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." 9 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. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 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. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. 13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." 14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son." 16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: 18 "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." 19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead."