Merry CHRISTmas and WONDER-FILLED New Year!

“…they fell down and worshiped Him.” – Matthew 2:11

As I take time this week to ponder 2015 and look to the promise of a new year, two groups of people have left an impression on my heart this season. I long to be more like the shepherds and the wisemen…the unsuspecting, but obedient shepherds with hearts open to the Lord, and the expectant, diligent, and purposeful wisemen, who did not grow weary and tired. Their roles in the Christmas story have captivated me this season. They are the two diverse groups of people that God chose to first tell about His precious Son’s birth. Those poor and rich men were the ones to spread the word to all others.

the shepherds…

Picture this with me – out on a hillside sit a group of shepherds with a whole bunch of sheep. They are out, away from town. It was a regular night. They liked regular nights – with no dangers to harm their sheep.

There they sat around a fire. They didn’t have much – they lived in tents and had very little personal property. They survived by eating the meat and drinking the milk produced by their flocks. They used the animals’ wool to stay warm.

This night, it was quiet. The sheep were safe in the sheepfold they had built. They sit silently on the ground, perhaps perplexed, perhaps in awe, no doubt in amazement. Their night watch had been interrupted by an explosion of light from heaven and a symphony of angels. God goes to those who have time to hear him—so on this cloudless night he went to simple shepherds.

the wisemen…

Suppose you could give a gift to Christ, what would it be? How could you possibly select a gift for the One who not only has everything, but who made everything?

The Wise Men did. They can be an example to us. In addition to the gold, frankincense, and myrrh, they gave the Savior some gifts we can give him today: their hope, their time, and their worship.

The wandering wise men gave Jesus their hope. When everyone else saw a night sky, this small band of men saw the light. The sight of the star sparked a desire in their hearts that sent them packing. They went, seeking Jesus.

When night comes to your world, what do you see?
The darkness or the stars?
Hopelessness or hopefulness?

Sometimes, just as he did so long ago, God uses the darkness to reveal his stars—“The light shines in the darkness” (John 1:5).

While you’re giving, give God your time. The wise men did. Before they gave God their presents, they gave their presence. It’s likely that these men traveled as long as two years before locating the prince of heaven. Before that one incredible moment when they knelt before Jesus,the wise men spent many moments, months, perhaps years, searching, in anticipation of that meeting. Just as the wise men devoted themselves to seeking the Savior, so can you: “You will seek him and find him when you seek him with all your heart” (Duet. 4:29).

And when they did find him, the wise men gave Jesus another gift: their worship. Men of wealth, influence, and intellect: what did they do when they saw Jesus? “…they fell down and worshiped him” (Matt. 2:11)

Those men, after an excruciatingly long journey, did not hurry into the house and drop the gifts, and move on. No, not at all. The Bible says says they fell to their knees and worshiped Him. They traveled perhaps 800-900 miles with their camels with expectation and anticipation of kneeling before the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Would you travel that far? And if so, what would you do when you got there? How long would you stay? What would you say? I want to be more like them: to sit and stay, listen and learn, filled with wonder and worship.

In worship, we simply stand before God with a prepared and willing heart and let God do his work. And he does. He wipes away the tears. He mops away the perspiration. He softens our furrowed brows. He touches our cheeks. He changes our faces as we worship. The wise men sought the child of God, just as God seeks his children. “The Father is actively seeking such people to worship him” (John 4:23).

The gifts of hope, time, and worship. Three gifts the wise still give.

Merry CHRISTmas and a WONDERFILLED New Year!

Excerpts taken from “Following the Star”
by Max Lucado