Matt Garrison • Pastor of Family Ministries
The Christmas Story From Different Perspectives
Matthew 2:1-17, Luke 2:8-38
MONDAY: The Wise Men
Here we are, the Christmas season of 2016. Why does time fly as we get older? The year just started! This week’s Take 5 is going to focus on The Christmas Story from different perspectives of the people who were around when Christ was born. Today, we’ll look at the wise men found in the above passage. These magi, or royal astrologers, were looking at the stars when they noticed a special star rise up. They knew something about the promise of God to send the Messiah to rescue the world, and they wanted to see the newborn king of the Jews. They follow the star, which leads them to Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. The wise men were looking to the stars waiting and anticipating the Messiah’s coming.
May we pause and thank Jesus for coming to earth that first Christmas to rescue us!
Do you like jigsaw puzzles? I like the “20 pieces or less” kind! They are just easier and don’t take up too much time. I’ve never had the patience to put together a 500 or 1,000 piece puzzle. What’s the goal of a puzzle? To make your final image look like the picture on the box. We all have a picture in mind of what we want our lives to be like. One day we want to be able to look back at our lives and say, “Ah, that looks just like I imagined. All of the pieces fit together like I thought they would.” Herod had the same thoughts. He was constructing his own life and this Jesus piece didn’t fit in with what he wanted. There was no room for another king. Following Jesus will cost us everything.
Ask yourself if there are any puzzle pieces that you may need to let go so Jesus can be the center of your life.
On the night Jesus is born, angels show up to tell some people who were not thought of very highly in their culture. They were lowly shepherds. This was not the glamorous, sought after job–shepherds worked with smelly animals. They probably smelled like animals and the outdoors. They were just doing their job when all of a sudden, a bright, radiant angel shows up and declares that the Savior has been born. They rush out to Bethlehem and see the Savior. God chooses them to be some of the first to see the Messiah! After they see Him they run out and begin telling everyone what happened! Sometimes God decides to do things in ways we don’t expect.
Know that God can use you to do extraordinary things!
Have you ever ordered anything from Amazon.com or expected a check or letter in the mail? What happens when it doesn’t show up? Many of us would begin to track it down! We want to know where in the world it is. But after time, we may give up or ask for a refund. In this perspective we see Simeon was waiting for the Messiah to come as God promised. God told Simeon he wouldn’t die until he saw the Messiah. We don’t know how old Simeon was when God revealed this to him and how long he waited. We do know that when it happens, he is old enough and at peace enough to ask God to let him die. What are we waiting on God to do this Christmas? Do we feel like He won’t come through for us?
Let’s take a minute and ask ourselves, “What am I expecting God to do this Christmas?” May we know that God will do ALL He has promised to do.
This last perspective is one that’s easy to look over. Anna is a prophet who was married until her husband of just seven years died. She never married again. She was still a widow at the age of 84 and never left the temple. She worshipped God day and night! She was so consumed with God, He was all she wanted. God then allows her to see the Savior, the Messiah, during Simeon’s blessing on the family! What she does next is wonderful: She begins to tell others that the Messiah had arrived. She couldn’t keep it in! Do we get excited about this time of year because of the presents under the tree or more excited about the Savior who was born to eventually die, rescuing us from our sins and restoring us back to the Father?
May our lives look more like Anna’s–totally consumed and hoping in the One who saves us from our sins!