Summary: Joy at Christmas is the coming of Christ not the birth of Jesus, this joy should be the thing we most desire at Christmas
What I want for Christmas – Matthew 2:1-12
Big Idea: Joy at Christmas in the coming of Christ not the birth of Jesus
Big response: When reflecting on Jesus to know joy and share that with others
If I am going to answer this question of “What I want for Christmas” – we first need to think about the significance of the event.
For example if it was your wedding day and you were asked the question ““What I want for my wedding” you would most likely want presents or gifts that will be useful in running a home together in the years ahead. If it was your retirements and you were asked the question “What I want for my retirement” you might want things to help you relax – a case of wine, some good books. Our understanding of the event will determine what we want from it.
So before we can answer the question “What I want for Christmas” – we need to spend some time unpacking the significance of the occasion. To do this we will use the passage from Matthew that I read earlier. What is significant about the event.
Firstly – The King has come
Has anyone ever met royalty? When I was in Uganda a few years ago – I didn’t get to meet the King – but the Kings’ mother. Hot dusty day expand ….They had fixed an appointment for me to meet her – and I remember going to visit her and bowing down – while she was seated on an African rug. Now to be honest this was only a regional King – so maybe equivalent to the size of Epsom – but in my books a King’s mother is a King’s mother
As we enter into the story of Matthew we find these strange mysterious men – Magi
Very little is known about the Wise Men or Magi. Matthew doesn’t even record how many of them there were. All the Bible tells us is that they came from the East to Jerusalem. And so it is more than likely they were NOT Jews. Tradition has it that they were Magi from Persia, once a mighty country where modern Iran and Iraq now are. What is known about the names and number comes from legends and what exactly Magi were from information gleaned from history about the Persian kings. In the second century, a church father named Tertullian suggested that these men were kings because the Old Testament had predicted that kings would come to worship him.
He also concluded that there were three kings based on the number of gifts mentioned, gold, frankincense and myrrh. In the sixth century, someone decided that their names were Melchior, Baltazar and Gaspar.
It is generally accepted that “the Magi were a priestly caste (in the Persian Empire),
The Magi worshipped the elements of fire, air, earth and water, especially fire.
The only temples they had were fire temples, generally on the roofs of houses, where they kept the sacred element burning day and night – a bit like the Eternal Flame in Arlington Cemetery over President John Kennedy’s grave.
“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[b] and have come to worship him." “
Can you imagine if suddenly there was a knock on the door Where is the pastor of Stoneleigh we saw his rainfall in Wales and have come to see him. What would you think – madness get these people out of here. Loony -