After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, 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 in the east and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this, he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: ’But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’” Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
So far, we have discovered that to reclaim Christmas, we must learn to shift our focus and worship Christ fully. It’s amazing how the holidays can work us into a frenzy of planning, decorating, and shopping, draining our time, energy, and bank accounts, leaving little room for God to work in us and through us. This week we will compare the Magi with King Herod. The Magi made room for the newborn King of the Jews and sought Him out to lay their treasures before Him, while Herod had no room for anyone who could disrupt his agenda. This year as we seek to reclaim Christmas, it is important for us to keep it simple.
On the surface, Herod appears to take a genuine interest in the birth of Christ. He even tells the Magi that he also wants to worship the Christ child. After being warned in a dream about Herod, the Magi returned to their country by another route. Herod was furious! He ordered the death of all boys two years old and under in Bethlehem and its vicinity. Herod would not let this disruption sidetrack his political agenda. He saw Christ as a threat to his power and authority. If he had his way, this new King would be snuffed out before He ever had a chance to rule. Obviously, Herod did not understand the nature of Jesus’ rule and reign. As believers, we have the honor and privilege of worshipping the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Questions to Ponder
Do you allow the distractions of the season to keep you from truly worshiping Christ? Do you view Christmas as an irritating disruption to your normal routine? What can you do to simplify this Christmas season so that you are able to fully worship Him? What do you learn as you observe the life of King Herod?
Spend some time in prayer meditating on what God revealed to you today.