At the Faith Store, we have nativities from all over the world. Each one is a unique depiction of what that night may have looked like. Some even include three wise men bringing gifts. At the center of each one is the baby Jesus.
Although history tells us that the wise men probably arrived at Jesus’ home up to two years after his birth, the inclusion of them at the stable scene reminds us of the prophecy in Isaiah 60 that says, “All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see your radiance.”
The wise men or Magi began their journey when they saw the star of Bethlehem, crossing nations and deserts in order to find the Christ child and see His radiance.
We learn some important lessons from the wise men and their journey described in Matthew 2. Even though these men were not Jews, they knew about the prophecies given to the Jewish people. There were promises throughout the scriptures that God in the flesh would come to dwell with His people. The wise men heard these promises and looked for their fulfillment. And so they came seeking God. If we are wise, we too will seek God. His promise of salvation and eternal life is there for us, but we must strive to find Him. We look for God in His word, in church, in prayer, in serving others, and in creation – all of these bearing witness to who He is. Jesus promised that if we knock on the door as we look for Him, He will open it.
When the wise men arrived at the home of Jesus, they were filled with joy. They gave Him their gifts and bowed down to worship Him. They knew they were in the presence of the most-worthy King of Kings.
When we find Christ, our hearts should be filled with joy, as well. That joy comes from knowing the Savior, regardless of our situations. It is an infilling that comes when we recognize who Jesus is and the priceless gift He brings to us. Our response to Him is to worship Him, declaring Him worthy of our praise and humbly bowing before Him as we recognize our own unworthiness. The wise men show us the appropriate way to respond to Jesus. We should bring our gifts and ourselves to Him every day.
After their visit, the wise men headed back home, but they did not go the way they had come. God warned them in a dream to go a different way so they would not encounter Herod, the jealous King who wanted to kill Jesus. The wise men listened to God and obeyed His instructions. This is the mark of wisdom for any of us who follow Jesus.
We must listen for His voice and follow His guidance, always. God promises to guide us through this life so we might be with Him in the next life. May the nativity serve as a reminder to humbly and wisely follow the Savior who came as a baby that day.
Kathy Tack is lead pastor of Generations of Grace Church in Lebanon. Preacher’s Corner features a new local preacher each month writing a column.