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

shepherds and the wise men. But when we take a closer look at what the bible does tells

us we should note that the wise men had probably spent the better part of a year preparing

for the trip and actually traveling to Bethlehem from their home. So the Christ child was

more than likely at least a year old perhaps almost 2 when they came to visit him. This is

why Herod ordered all male children 2 and under killed. The scriptures read in Matthew

3:16 “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 2 years old and

under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the magi. Now this is where

we can learn a lesson from these ancient visitors of the Christ child. They didn’t stop

searching for the Christ child a day or so after the star appeared, they didn’t even stop

after a month or two. They continued with their search for a year or more, perhaps 2

years. And they went on this search for this new king, knowing full well that they would

have almost another years journey back home again. Think of the preparation these Magi

must have had to undertake. Think of all the provisions, clothing, food and other people

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