Summary: Tonight we are going to look at the familiar story of the wise men coming to see baby Jesus. Although months after Christ’s birth, they share a place in historical first Christmas. From their part of this story we see how we need to celebrate Christmas.
How to Celebrate Christmas
- Get them talking:
How does your family celebrate Christmas?
- Christmas around the world
Illustration: Replacement Santa
Text: Matthew 2:1-12
The “wise men”, or Maji, were the ancient equivalent Jedi Knights – superb knowledge of math, science, astronomy, history, agriculture, and the occult. Historians believe that you didn’t become king in Persia w/o a mastery of the scientific and religious disciplines of the Maji.
The prophet Daniel dealt with the Maji in Babylonia. He was trained right along side of them and is this is probably why the Maji were looking for one who has been born king of the Jews.
Tonight we are going to look at the familiar story of the wise men coming to see baby Jesus. Although months after Christ’s birth, they share a place in historical first Christmas. From their part of this story we see how we need to celebrate Christmas.
1. Seek Out the Savior!
What do you truly look forward to about Christmas?
What are hoping to get this Christmas?
Illustration: wife’s Christmas list
Most often we “seek out” the benefits of the Christmas season…the food, special events, parties, and of course presents.
The wise men didn’t seek out the baby Jesus for any benefit of their own. They weren’t seeking out material rewards. They were already wealthy. They weren’t Jewish, so their concerns weren’t about how he would fulfill prophecy and become “shepherd of my people Israel”. They didn’t do it for political positioning, they already a position in their homeland.
They were seeking out Jesus because they knew and believed that He was the Son of God sent to be their savior from sin.
As we approach this Christmas season, we need to make sure that we are seeking the right thing. We need to remember what it’s all about – the Savior.
“Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near” (Is. 55:6)
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12)
2. Wholehearted Worship
Can you imagine the excitement of the wise men when they finally got to see Jesus? They traveled hundreds of miles, spending weeks on the road. Then they were interviewed by a jealous King who then gave them a suspicious assignment. Now at last they find what they were looking for. Their immediate response was to worship.
“fell to the ground” – This action was to show reverent fear and respect to someone of authority and power.
This action signified that they acknowledged Christ as King, the Messiah, God’s Son sent to save the world.
“worshiped” – a perfect blending of intellectual knowledge of the truth of God, and the touchy feely emotions of the soul and spirit.
“Yet a time is coming and has now come, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24).
Paul quotes Isaiah the prophet in Romans 14:11,
It is written: “ ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’ ”
Like the wise men did, people are still searching for a Savior…some one to save them. At one time, you and I were one of them. We’ve found Him, but still some are searching.
Sometimes those people walk right past right us and don’t even notice that we’ve found Him. They have no clue that Jesus is right there. Why? Because sometimes we’re not expressing a life of worship.
Your worship of Christ will draw the attention of others and will create opportunities for others to find the Savior.
Illustration: Hughy, Dewy & Louie cartoon of reliving Christmas morning until they got it right.
I’m sure that the wise men were tired from their journey, felt intimidated by the King, and wondered what others would think about what they were about to do…but they worshiped anyway.
How do you celebrate Christmas? How do you come to Christ?
3. Don’t come empty handed
Christmas often poses some real dilemmas for us concerning gift buying. You see, for birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries we buy presents. But for Christmas we have a “gift exchange”. You give a gift to someone because you know they are going to give a gift to you.
If you have ever said, “I gave someone a great gift and all they gave me was this” or “Since they didn’t give me a gift last year, I won’t give them a gift this year then you don’t truly understand the nature of a gift.
“You can give without loving, but you can’t love without giving.”