★ Day 22 – Reason for the Season – Part of the Stable Few? ★

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22 - Daily Dependence - FrankensteinI love quirky humor like this!  Much has been said on the Wise Men over the years.  The Bible however only records 12 verses about these significant pieces of the Christmas Story.  We covered 10 verses yesterday, and today we will read the last 2.  Our story picks up after the events of yesterday ★ Day 21 – Reason for the Season – Neighborly Competition ★ post, where we were first introduced to the Wise Men who followed the star from the East, and their interaction with Herod about where the baby that was born King of the Jews was.  As a refresher from yesterday, Matthew 2:7-8 (NASB) says,

“Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.”

In Charles Stanley’s “Life Principles Bible,” he had this commentary on Matthew 2:8 on the cunning nature of Herod…

“Anyone can pretend to love God – but the proof is in a person’s character, and Herod’s was sinfully flawed.  Thankfully, the men were not deceived.  The Lord warned them about Herod, and they returned to their own country without telling him that they had seen Christ.”

That is so true.  Character is everything.  I am reminded of the quote from Abraham Lincoln,

“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

A person’s true self will come out in the light eventually which was the case for Herod and for the Wise Men.  Today’s “Reason for the Season” will focus on the latter.  I love this play on words…Are you part of the inn crowd or the stable few?”  22 - Daily Dependence - Wise Men - Part of the StableObviously this is muse for today’s title, but it opens the discussion, which are you?  Are you on the periphery of the Christmas story, in a comfortable “Inn,” keeping Jesus at a distance and not allowing the truth of this season to penetrate your heart?  Or are you part of the “Stable Few” that your you are “all in,” that regardless of the adversity, Jesus is the center of your life; and that Christmas is the fulfillment of God’s plan for salvation?

Our passage is from Matthew 2:9-11 (NASB) which says,

“After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was.  When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.  After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him.  Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”  (Emphasis added.)

Charles Stanley’s had this insightful commentary on Matthew 2:11 about the truth of when the Wise Men came to see Jesus contrary what many depictions show…

“The Wise Men probably visited Jesus when he was about two years old.  They came to a house instead of a stable and saw the Child rather than an infant.  Regardless of His age, however, they worshipped Him and acknowledged Him as the Messiah.”

The Wise Men “fell to the ground and worshiped Him,” and then “presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”  Incredible!

If it is okay, I have one more comic to share…What a great modern adaptation!!  22 - Comic - Wiser WomanBut it raises the issue about these three gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  I did a little research on what they were and the representation of each of the gifts.  The gold is obvious, it was for its worth but also to acknowledge the divinity of Jesus.  Everyone is quite familiar with Gold, but what about Frankincense and Myrrh…not as much I suspect…Did you know that both are dried tree saps, or resins.  Frankincense is highly fragrant when burned and often used in worship.  When it was burned, it was done so as a pleasant offering to God, (see Exodus 30:34).  Frankincense is a symbol of Jesus’ holiness and righteousness.  And finally Myrrh has a medicinal, kind of bitter smell and was often used to dress wounds.  Today, it’s still used to prevent and treat gum disease and sometimes shows up in toothpastes and mouthwashes.

The Magi as they were also called were a caste of a wise man specializing in astronomy, astrology, and natural science that came from the East to worship Jesus who was prophesied about over 700 years earlier.  We can learn a lot from them, a couple of adjectives come to mind…steadfastness, driven and passionate.  And at the core the Wise Men were extreme worshipers!  Jimmy Evans made this great point,

“The wise men traveled hundreds of miles and spent an enormous amount of time and money seeking Jesus.  That is the spirit of Christmas.”   

We talked about this on the ★ Day 10 – Reason for the Season – What is the Spirit of Christmas? ★ post, that the Spirit of Christmas is all about giving of yourself in service to God and others, and I can think of no other example in the Christmas narrative than Wise Men whose sole purpose was to worship the Messiah, which gives us a great model for how our faith should be.  They were resolute and unwavering in their mission, regardless of whatever stood in their way…whether it was the cost of the trip, the dangers along the way, or an envious King who wanted to stop the fulfillment of the prophecy of the coming Messiah, their belief in the prophecy was so strong that the Wise Men overcame any adversity in order to worship the Savior of the World!  Wow!  The question I have for us…Do we have that kind of faith?  Day 4 of the 121 Advent Bible Reading Plan said,

“Most often our hope wavers because it is rooted in an act of will and therefore lacks a stable foundation…Where is your hope rooted?  What characteristics of God can you rest your hope in today?”

Great questions…Today my prayer is that a stable foundation of faith in the Jesus would be built and that if He is not the center of your life that you would make the decision to follow the Magi’s example!  Hebrews 10:23  (NLT) says,

“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.”

I will close with this last thought…

And it is so true!  When I take my focus off the problem, and place it in the capable hands of the problem solver, EVERYTHING CHANGES!  I am thankful for the model that these “Stable Few” Wise Men have given us to follow.  They journeyed for hundreds of miles through peril and struggle all to worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  May this be the posture of our hearts today!

22 - Daily Dependence - Wise Men TravellingWe received a Christmas card this year from good friends of ours with this saying on it…

“The star that led the Wise Men then….Still shines to guide the hearts of men today.” 

To assist in that, here is Elevation Church’s beautiful song “Let Us Adore” from their new album called “Wake Up The Wonder.”

As an additional supplement to today’s “Reason for the Season”…I highly recommend you listen to “The Twelve Voices of Christmas” audio dramatization from Back to the Bible of “Wise Men – The Voice of Adoration.”  This dramatization is designed to help the listener experience the story of Christ’s coming in a fresh way from the Wise Men’s perspective.

If you would like to see the next installment of our “25 Days of Thankfulness” series go here…★ Day 23 – Reason for the Season – Can Christians Condone Claus? ★

Or you can start from the beginning by ★ Clicking Here ★

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★ Day 21 – Reason for the Season – Neighborly Competition ★

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21 - Daily Dependence - Reverend Fun - Lights Too BrightsI hope you have been enjoying all the comics…They bring levity while simultaneously helping raise awareness to a much-needed area to discuss.  A friend of mine posted this picture on Facebook the day before Thanksgiving that had 21 - Daily Dependence - Stop Premature Christmas Decoratingme laughing…

“Stop Premature Christmas Decorating”

…but I have to say I agree.  Not sure where you fall in this debate but for me, the day after Thanksgiving is the starting point of the decorating season whether inside or outside…It is not a sin of course if you did it beforehand…this is just my preference, hahaha!  Don’t get me wrong I am not ant-decorating, just pro post-Thanksgiving.  I love seeing all the neighbors decorate their houses, and often times we will slow down to “oh and ah.”  My co-worker was telling me of two house on his block who each year their displays get bigger and bigger due to their neighborly competition… As you can see there is not much lawn left…hahaha!

21 - Daily Dependence - Christmas Lights - Competition with NeighborsHe said they literally grow their display after each person put something else out to outdo the other.  Too funny!  There is a park near my house that rivals these houses for sure and definitely did have to prematurely decorate because there were a total of with 4 million lights to set up along a 2 mile path/drive!  Each year they set up this Holiday Light extravaganza that draws thousands of cars to our area to drive through the incredible displays.  

21 - Daily Dependence - Prairie Lights FilmstripThough I am not a runner to say the least, this year we participated with our lifegroup from church in the “Sneak-a-Peek 5K Run & Walk” the weekend before thanksgiving.  My wife and I walked along the trail with our good friends as our kids blazed passed us…hahaha!  The light show is really something to see, but my favorite for sure is the last picture of the film strip above…The Nativity Scene for sure!  Hard to see amidst all the other decorations, but here is a focused view…21 - Daily Dependence - Christmas Lights - NativityThough I take exception to the depiction of the Wise Men because they were not present that night Jesus was born, (…we will discuss in tomorrow’s ★ Day 22 – Reason for the Season – Part of the Stable Few? ★,) this illuminated display sure popped along the pathway because of it brilliance.

Matthew 2:1-10 (NKJV)21 - Daily Dependence - Wise Men will be our passage from the Christmas narrative that centers on the Star that led the Visitors from the East to come to worship the newborn king of the Jews!  Let’s begin with verses 1-2…

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?  For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’”

Though we are not told specifically, it is believed that the Wise Men were from the region where Daniel and the other Israelites spent 70 years of captivity, (605-530 B.C.)  Daniel was a powerful prophet of God who spoke of the second coming of the Messiah (which you can study on your own in the book of Daniel, chapters 9 through 12, speak of Daniel’s prophecies about the second Advent or coming of Jesus that will be a conquering King, unlike His first Advent as a humble baby.)  Daniel held a high office in the Babylonian Empire and wielded great influence on the people, and as a result the Wise Men probably learned from Daniel’s teachings about the coming savior of the world.  Let’s pick up the story with verse 3…

“When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”

Stop…That verse is so peculiar to me.  But it also is quite revealing, showing the darkside of Herod, (no I will not be making any Star Wars tie-in here…) and the darkness that rested Jerusalem.  This news that the Wise Men brought should have brought great joy as it much-anticipated fulfillment of the prophecies of old but instead, Herod was “troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”  Very sad…Okay back to verses 4-8…

“And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet [Micah 5:2]:

‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’” 

Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared.  And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”

Herod’s neighborly competitiveness was much greater than trying to have the best light display; he was obsessed with being king over Israel, and was determined to do whatever it took to keep his throne!  (You can read in Matthew 2:16-18 about the level he went to, but that is for another day…)  We finish out today’s narrative with verses 9-10…

“When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was.  When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.”

The wise men traveled hundreds of miles, following the star that they saw in the East and when they reached their destination, “they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.”  Is that your reaction to the coming of December 25?  Or have you become preoccupied with the trappings that this season brings?  I shared this on ★ Day 17 – Reason for the Season – Consumed with Busyness ★ post, but it warrants repeating…

"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."  Matthew 5:14, 16 (NKJV)
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Like the Star for the Wise Men, we too should let our light shine for all to see!  We should be filled with “exceedingly great joy” because of Jesus!

“To let the light of Jesus shine through us and to bring honor and glory to God, we first and foremost have to have Jesus in us.”  Marty Collier

Herod had no room in his heart for the true KING that came in the form of a baby over 2,000 years ago, what about you?  Are you shrouded in darkness and feeling lost?  You don’t have to be…Jesus offers another way.  In John 8:12b (NKJV) Jesus said to the crowd,

“I am the light of the world.  He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Following Jesus and having a relationship with Him will bring you into the light and will give you a hope and future that you WILL NEVER HAVE A PART FORM HIM!  I am thankful not only for the Star that led the Wise Men to Jesus but for the Savior of the World that was found there!  If you want to learn more about how to have a relationship with Jesus, check out our ★ Thought for the Day – I Hate Religion and I’m a Christian… ★, you will never be disappointed choosing to follow Jesus!  Worship him as the Wise Men did so many years ago!!

21 - Daily Dependence - Wise Men SilhouettesAs an additional supplement to today’s “Reason for the Season”…I highly recommend you listen to  “The Twelve Voices of Christmas audio dramatization from Back to the Bible of “Herod – The Voice of Deception” who was the biggest enemy in the Christmas story!

If you would like to see the next installment of our “25 Days of Thankfulness” series go here…★ Day 22 – Reason for the Season – Part of the Stable Few? ★

Or you can start from the beginning by ★ Clicking Here ★

#Daily Dependence - Reason for the Season - 25 Days of Thankfulness

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