“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the territory of Judea during the rule of King Herod, magi came from the east to Jerusalem. They asked, ‘Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We’ve seen his star in the east, and we’ve come to honor him.’” -Matthew 1:1,2
We’re almost to Epiphany. Epiphany is that time when the light of Christ shines beyond the manger into new and unexpected places. It’s when we ask, how will Christ’s coming affect my daily life in the coming year?
Look at how Christ’s coming affected the magi of Matthew chapter 2. They had at least four new experiences!
The magi discovered new routes:
They set out to a foreign land, because they were compelled by the star.
When was the last time you let yourself go down a new road, nudged by God?
They met new people:
Can you imagine being Joseph and Mary as these very odd looking men come bringing their camels to their humble home? Strangers can make us tense up. Yet the wisemen come bringing gifts, costly presents that the Holy Family will desperately need to make ends meet as they soon become refugees in Egypt.
They discovered new allegiances:
The magi had a tough decision to make. After they find Jesus, should they go back and tell the current king where exactly to find the new king? He was, after all, the earthly ruler of this land. But they were warned, we presume by God, in a dream, not to do as Herod had commanded them. They decided to go home by another way.
Joseph, too, and Mary, had to decide where their allegiances lay. Up ’til now they were law-abiding citizens, doing whatever the government asked of them, but Joseph gets a dream, too, this one telling him to escape to Egypt. Should Joseph stick with what he knows even though his son’s life may be in danger? Or follow the commands God gives him in his dreams?
Whose commands will you have to reject this year? Maybe for you it’s commands of a boss wanting you to be unethical, or commands from a friend who isn’t really, or your own unrelenting self-talk.
The magi bowed to a new king, and Joseph listened to a voice in his dreams that made sense to no one but him. New allegiances changed everything.
The magi saw a new revelation of God:
The foreign visitors were surely surprised as they talked this all over going home. They had headed out for Jerusalem to see a king, and wound up in Bethlehem cooing at a toddler. God came as a baby? Now they are headed back home as worshippers of Jesus. What had this star done to them?
As we begin this new year, may you be so blessed with new routes, new people, new allegiances, and new experiences of God.