For the last two Christian Ed classes I’ve led, we’ve done a mini-series I call, “Christmas in the Bible.” We looked at the two different accounts in Luke and Matthew, as well as took a quiz on what exactly is and what isn’t in the bible. You’d be surprised how much you assume.
Yesterday, we examined the historical background of Herod the Great and the Magi (the wise men), and had a fun time speculating on some of their heart motivations. Speculating can be dangerous if it is not tempered by community, other scriptures, and a recognition that speculation cannot be confused with special revelation (bible).
However we all found it helpful to speculate a bit to dig a little deeper into these scripture accounts of Christ’s birth and the short time thereafter (Magi found Jesus in a house, perhaps up to 2 years later). Since the Magi were overjoyed, and ‘rejoiced exceedingly with great joy,’ probably knew somewhat of what/whom they were seeking (they would have been very well educated), worshiped Jesus, we found great application this Christmas.
Instead of being bothered by a Bucs loss this morning (which really doesn’t mean anything in the long run, or short run either-they’ll end up the same seed in the playoffs regardless) or all the busyness that lies ahead, I was reminded to rejoice simply in Jesus. Not presents, not family, not the blessings I’ve received, but simply in Jesus’ coming and promise to come again.
We concluded with some reflection on the poem “The Journey of the Magi” by T.S. Eliot. I think this poem reflects his own spiritual journey to Christianity. Here’s an excerpt we briefly pondered. Its an inquiry into what the Magi might have felt like when they returned to the East. I recommend “googling” the rest of it.
All this was a long time ago,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt.
I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death,
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.