I slept for about two hours last night. I decided to go out to the living room, turn on the lights to the Christmas tree, make some warm milk, and read while using my heat wrap. Dayton has suffered a winter blast, and my body felt it. I’ve been waiting out a migraine attack since Thursday, Dec. 22, and today, Christmas Day, I feel some relief finally.
I’m finishing up Elisa Morgan’s book, “Christmas Changes Everything: How the Birth of Jesus Brings Hope to the World,” and read about the Magi and King Herod in Matthew 2:1-12. The Magi are known as the three wise men often in Christmas plays, but that may not have been accurate. Three gifts were given to Jesus the Messiah, so that’s probably why we’ve long thought that. King Herod heard that “Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.'” Elisa said the Bible used the word “disturbed” when describing both the reactions of King Herod and all of Jerusalem. Unlike Christ, Herod had no claim to the throne by birth. He saw this royal birth as a threat, so he wanted the Magi to find the Christ child and bring word of his whereabouts to kill him.
Elisa said the Magi were Gentile men from Arabia or Persia. They studied the stars, interpreted dreams, and were more like astrologers of today. She said they may have been instructed by Jewish scholars concerning the Messiah and were seeking this royal birth. When they saw the star, they followed its progression. Elisa said it is possible that “the star” they saw “was the Shekinah glory of God” that led the Israelites in the wilderness as a pillar of fire and cloud. I found that interesting. The Magi found the child, Jesus, who was almost 2 years old by then it is believed. They presented him with gold, frankincense, and myrrh. She said these men from the East went from exploring the “dark side” to aligning their lives with the Source of truth, Jesus Christ. They were warned in a dream not to return to Herod. That maniacal king, “outwitted by the Magi,” ordered the murders of all the boys under 2-years-old. Joseph had taken Jesus and Mary to Egypt after the angel of the Lord had told him of Herod’s plans. When all those who sought to kill Jesus had died, Joseph again was told in a dream. He took his family to Israel. Learning that Herod’s son, Archelaus reigned in Judea, Joseph bought Jesus and Mary to settle in Nazareth.
I’ve really enjoyed reading Elisa’s book this Christmas. I love learning new things about that first Christmas. I definitely recommend her book. I wanted to share with you this prayer I posted for this Christmas Day. I’ve been through a lot physically, so during this time, I’ve turned toward mental health where my body failed me.
“Thank you, Jesus, for another Christmas. You left Heaven for us. You dwelt among us and experienced what life feels like to live here. You know us through and through and love us still. We’re not worthy of your extravagant love, but You first chose us. Draw those who don’t know You today to seek the truth about who You are.
Thank you isn’t enough for the way You had to walk to provide us a way that we might have right-standing with God. Your finished work at the cross, Your death, and Your resurrection made that way possible. You tore the veil between us, so I can have that close relationship with God the Father. We can do nothing to deserve this amazing gift. Through repentance of sins and acceptance of You, we can have eternal life. In Your name, I pray. Amen!”
I included this wonderful new song by Amanda Cook, “Our Jesus.” God bless all of you this holiday season with moments of quiet reflection, hope and His abiding love and peace.