Summary: The wise men spent perhaps 2 years after the birth of Christ to find Him. How long do we keep searching after Christmas is over?
This past week my wife and I took down our Christmas decorations. We had to
take down our tree, we were beginning to have more needles on the carpet then we had on
the tree. So we went ahead and packed up the lights on the window, the decorations
above the fireplace, the artificial tree we have downstairs that the kids decorate and all the
other little Christmas decorations. We still have our lights on the outside of the house, but
inside it’s pretty much back to normal.
I think that all too often, we have the tendency to do the same when it comes to
the Christ child. We always anticipate the arrival of Christmas. The retailers nowadays
start selling Christmas before Thanksgiving is even here. Many people have their
shopping done in October or before. These people by the way drive me nuts. Christmas
songs fill the air weeks before the 25th and the radio and TV proclaim the coming of
Christmas with Holiday specials, musicals and advertisements. But come December 26th,
very little is heard or seen that would indicate any of the proceeding had even taken place.
If you look at the Christian calendar, The Christmas season doesn’t officially even
start until Dec. 25th. We have been in the advent season prior to this, advent means
“coming”. Yet we put more effort into the coming of Christmas then in the actual season.
5 days ago we celebrated the birth of Jesus, our Savior. And how quickly we have a
tendency to forget and move on with our lives.
In the scripture reading today, we read about the wise men who came to see the
newborn king. We know very little about these scholars, In fact the 1st 12 verses of the
2nd Chapter of Matthew is the only information that is given about their visit. Fortunately
we can draw a good amount of information about them from what is written. We know
that they were some type of scholars or astronomers since they understood the stars and
they also were familiar with the Jewish prophesies for they knew the verse from Numbers
which says, “A star shall come out of Jacob” And they also ask Herod the question
“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews”. They came from the east,
probably from Mesopotamia or what is today Iran and Iraq. We have always assumed that
there were 3 wise men, mainly because of the 3 gifts that were given to the Christ child,
but the bible does mention the actual number of wise men that came, there may have only
been 2 or perhaps as many as 6 or more, we don’t know. What I find intriguing about this
very short story in the scriptures is the dedication of these men. They seem to know more
about what is taking place then the chief priests and teachers of the law. Here the messiah
has been born and they seem to know nothing about what has taken place. Yet these
foreigners, these “heathens” as the Jews considered them, understand the Jewish writings
and the meaning of the star better then they do. The other interesting thing to note is the
time period that all of this takes place. When we read the Christmas story, we have the
tendency to lump everything together in one short time period, the birth the angels and the