I am almost positive that there were more than three wise men. For one thing, why would they have traveled through the dangerous dessert with only 3 people? Carrying expensive gifts? I would imagine that they traveled in a caravan, but picturing three men off an adventure seems more intriguing somehow than several hundred traveling together. Regardless of how many or how few there were, God recently taught me a lesson about the wise man that is helping me to see their part of the Christmas story in a whole new way.
This all begin with a simple conversation I had on Facebook. Parts of that lovely social site I could do without, but I love being able to connect with friends who live far away. We can have “conversations” that normally would not happen due to distance. My friend Jairin’s husband plays pro-basketball, and they have lived all over Europe. Currently they are in Germany. To remember the countries that they have lived in, she posted that she had decided to include a tradition from each country in their celebration of Christ. The traditions she had initially found for Spain (where they were located at one time) were a bit ridiculous. The most appealing one was the Day of Kings that they celebrate on January 6th in many Spanish cities, but she did not initially like the idea of doing anything for the Day of Kings that they celebrate on January 6th in many Spanish countries, since she did not want to glorify the role that the wisemen played.
I pondered that for a bit, then a new thought occurred to me. (Such a wise thought that it must have come from the Holy Spirit because this never would have occurred to me personally!) The wise men were the only ones in the story who purposefully set out to worship the Christ child. While almost all of the other players in the Christmas story ended up worshipping the Christ, their lives were interrupted by the arrival of the Savior. The Savior came to Mary, then Joseph, then the shepherds, then even to Anna and Simeon. Worship was still the final result, but it came about almost by accident as a result of the celebrating the birth of Jesus. The wise men were the only ones who came TO the Savior, planning all along to worship the newborn King.
Celebrating comes easily to me at Christmastime, but am I just as quick to respond with a heart of worship? This is an area that I feel that I can personally grow this season. How can you incorporate worship into your family’s celebration of Christ’s birth?
By the way, Jairin decided that she wants to include this Spanish tradition as a part of her celebration. She is going to start her nativity without the wise men. She is going to put them in the east part of her house, then bring them closer and closer each day, until they arrive sometime after Christmas. Then she is going to sing some songs of worship with her kids and then give each them a small gift (probably chocolate hearts) to symbolize that Jesus wants us to give our hearts to Him. What a great way to include worship as a part of Christmas!
P.S. Last year I wrote about the tradition of giving just 3 gifts at Christmas. Our mentor, Danelle, is going to be explaining this concept to us as a part of our next MOPs. (One week from tomorrow!) All of the mentors are going to be presenting a different aspect of how they bring Christ into their family celebrations. You will not want to miss it!