The Magi Visit the Christ Child
Open Your Bible
Matthew 2:1-23, Jeremiah 31:15-17
Our family has had our share of Christmas tradition fails over the years: unsuccessfully freezing molasses candy in snow-packed iron skillets, forming popcorn balls that dripped corn syrup all over the floor, crafting handmade cards that took about 200 hours to make. But one of our favorite traditions that stuck—even better than the corn syrup—was beginning the season by listening to Steven Curtis Chapman’s 1995 version of “O Holy Night.” My mom has always connected to the more traditional songs of worship, so it makes sense that this hauntingly beautiful hymn is her favorite. The hymn writer coaxes us to “fall on our knees” while remembering the “night of our dear Savior’s birth.” Although the wise men came to worship Jesus some two years after His birth (Matthew 2:2,7,16), these lyrics mirror the conclusion of the Christmas story we find in the second chapter of Matthew.
The magi were overwhelmed with joy when they found the Christ child and discovered that their journey was not in vain (Matthew 2:10). Can you imagine the feeling? Without knowing exactly how far the magi journeyed before finding Jesus, we see that after entering the house, they fell on their knees. I imagine that after traveling so far, they would have been ready to collapse just about anywhere, but their first response was to fall to their knees in worship. After that moment of adoration, the magi “opened their treasures and presented [Jesus] with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (v.11).
Maybe today we’ve lost a little of this reverence. When did we last feel compelled to worship simply from encountering Jesus, outside all the trappings? Personally, I know that sometimes the beauty of a piece of music or a landscape or a fulfilled dream can more commonly elicit awe than the presence of my Savior. What a tragic loss! He is the giver of all good things, and to mistake these things for anything more significant than God Himself robs us of encountering Him.
Even if kneeling, falling prostrate, or another posture of worship doesn’t come naturally for us, let us stay open to the wonder of God’s presence this year. As the beloved hymn goes:
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees, oh hear the angel voices
O night divine, O night when Christ was born
O night divine, O night, O night divine
As we celebrate the first Sunday of Christmastide, and the last day of our Advent study, may we continue to worship Christ with everything we have. What gifts can you lay before Him in worship? Even though, here at the close of 2019, we know how the Christmas story ends, I pray we still find ourselves awestruck and overwhelmed with joy, just like the magi. God be with you, friends, now and in the coming year.