Scripture Reading: Matthew 2:1-23, Jeremiah 31:15-20
Lengthening my stride, I picked up speed through the front door of Target, hitting a sprint halfway down the electronics aisle. Each step brought me that much closer to the newly released Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) Classic Edition. To be honest, I’m not much of a gamer myself. The truth is, I didn’t really care that much about the SNES—the hottest new Christmas present—but it was so exclusive and my husband had talked it up so much, that I found myself wanting one. Badly.
But halfway down the electronics aisle, I felt my dignity slip away and the red flush of embarrassment creep up onto my cheeks. I knew better than to believe a toy warranted my running through a department store like a crazy lady.
Every day we weigh our choices about who and what to follow, buy, and worship. We craft our identity from these choices and tend to feel pretty confident about them. We think we know what is good, cool, or smart, worthy or unworthy, as evidenced by how we spend our time and money. But what if what we thought was right, was actually wrong? What if what we thought was ugly, was truly beautiful? And what if what we thought was foolish, was really God?
When I read the story of the Wise Men, I fear many of us wouldn’t have recognized the Christ child if we had been there. Embarking on a long and dangerous star chase sounds ludicrous, and falling on our knees to worship a newborn child sounds foolish. How easy it would have been to laugh at the idea of humanity’s long-awaited King coming to earth in the form of a baby.
Our judgment is flawed, and our scales are not always calibrated to the kingdom of God. We are so quick to become proud in our own way of measuring the world. This is the problem when we are the ones attempting to hold the scales in balance, weighing and judging, and deciding what we believe to be true.
Paul addressed this issue with the Corinthian church, telling them to be humble and boast only in the Lord. He taught that, “God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the word to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27).
The true wisdom of the wise men was not education or reading (although they likely had much of that); it was recognizing of the face of God in the midst of what seemed foolish and weak to the world. In the presence of a vulnerable baby born to a young couple in an obscure land, the wise men fell down to worship with reckless abandon.
To be truly wise is to be wise in the Lord and led by the Spirit. Our own understanding will always be limited. If we make ourselves the arbitrators of truth, we will inevitably call our own Savior foolish. True wisdom comes in having the humility to admit we don’t have all the answers, that we need the Holy Spirit to show us what is true, good, and beautiful. This season, may we hand over the scales of judgment to the Lord once and for all, asking Him to lead us in the way to wisdom.
Kaitie Stoddard is a professional counselor who recently relocated from Chicago to Colorado with her husband. She has her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and is passionate about helping couples and families find healing in their relationships. On any given weekend you’re likely to find Katie snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains, checking out new restaurants with friends, or catching up on her favorite Netflix and podcast series.