Dear Fellow Children of God,
Christmas Day has come and gone. Family celebrations are completed. Presents have been opened and some are already put away. At St. John we celebrated Jesus’ birth with festive Christmas Eve worship and quieter contemplation on Christmas morning. But, “Now what?”
If Christmas is just a holiday we will wait till next year and celebrate the holiday of winter solstice when December comes again. But, if Christmas really is the celebration of the arrival of God himself in human form into our world, if Christmas really is the celebration of the arrival of God himself into lives with love and forgiveness and life, then the Christmas event has continuing impact on our lives.
The last three weeks in these devotions we have considered Joseph and Mary and the shepherds as they experienced the birth of Jesus. Today please consider with me the journey and response of the magi. They can help us consider the question, “Now What?” These court advisors, or as we now call them wise men, arrived in Jerusalem after the actual birth of Jesus. By the time they arrived Jesus and his parents were living in a house (Matthew 2:11). When Herod wanted to make sure he eliminated any competition, using the magi’s explanation of the arrival of the star, he killed all baby boys 2 years old and under. The lives of the magi were impacted by the birth of Jesus after the miraculous birth was over.
In Matthew 2:2 God tells us what the magi did. They arrived in Jerusalem asking a question. "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." They sought Jesus and they worshipped Him.
Worship means to give honor and glory to someone who is worthy. But, worship is not just something that happens for a short period of time each week and is then completed. Because the one we worship is worthy, worshiping God is something Christians do with their whole heart, their whole mind, and with all their strength every day.
What do we do now that Christmas is over? Following the example of the magi we seek Jesus and we worship him. That may sound almost expected for Christians to say, but especially today, worship is radical. Worship is counter-cultural. In times when people are obsessed with “what do I want?”, “what is good for me?” “what can I gain?”, giving honor and service to someone else is contrary to what the rest of the world is doing.
But, the child born in Bethlehem is not just another person. The child born that first Christmas is Christ the Lord. He is the promised Messiah and God Himself, come to save us. He is worthy of worship, as the wise men showed. But that makes Christmas more than just a winter holiday.
The wise men arrived asking, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." Seeking and worshiping Jesus is the proper response to Christmas, not only at the end of December, but with all our lives.
A Child of God, Following the Christ to Worship Him!
P.S. Here are some pictures of our Christmas from the Rockey family. There is a picture of our family Christmas tree outing. There is a picture of all 14 of us together for our family celebration. Perhaps my favorite picture is the one of Henry looking at the manger scene on the Christmas tree. https://plus.google.com/photos/114993745799525883148/albums/5962286320541287057?banner=pwa
ABOUT ‘THOUGHTS FROM THE PASTOR’ - I am sending these e-mail messages, hopefully weekly, to all St. John members and friends whose e-mails I have. (I am always adding new names of friends and members – in case you are just receiving this e-mail for the first time.) However, if you don’t want to receive this e-mail, please let me know, and I’ll gladly leave your name off my list for this message. . . Or, if you know someone who would like to receive one of these e-mails, please send me their e-mail address.