“When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage.”
Welcome to a new year. It will be interesting to see what this year will bring – opportunities for this worshipping community to make a difference as a church family and in this community.
The lectionary passage for the first week in January is the story of the Magi. It is a story about people (foreigners), people who were spiritual seekers, who have heard about this KING, who was born in a distant country and they have come to Bethlehem to see this King and worship him.
As would be expected, to find a king one would go to the leadership of the country, so these foreign Wisemen (scholars) went to King Herod to find this newborn royalty. King Herod had no idea what they were talking about and he began to worry about someone who might be a threat to his power. As the story continues we see the scholars seem to sense (from a dream that they had) that this King Herod was NOT going to worship this newborn king but that Herod would do the baby harm if he could find him. So the scholars went back to their country without contacting King Herod.
Let’s begin this year remembering that our search is complete! The Savior of the World has been born and we have seen him. We know he is real. Jesus is in this 2016 New Year. Jesus continues to be present in your life throughout this coming year, no matter what the year brings. Nothing will change that!
An interesting aspect of this story in Matthew points out that these Magi were from a completely different culture. They were NOT Jewish and they did NOT know the Jewish traditions that were so important to the faith, yet they searched for someone who would fill the need in their lives. As we move through this next year let’s have eyes to see people who bring a new perspective to our understanding of Jesus. People who may not be ‘churched’ people but who ‘seek’ truth and a savior. Matthew wrote about these scholars with respect and acknowledged that they brought something unique to the story. They also emphasized that this new baby, this Messiah, was for people that had never before been considered within this religious community.
This year work to have eyes to see those who may bring a new and unexpected understanding of God and Jesus to our theology. Let’s work to not miss opportunities to learn from new places and people. Remembering that this very early group of visitors who came to see the baby Jesus were not what one would expect.
Blessings as we begin this New Year together!