Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Wise Men Still Seek Him


Matthew 2:9-12
After they heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.  When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.  On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.  Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Epiphany, or Three Kings' Day, occurs twelve days after Christmas Day according to liturgical church calendars.  It is the time when we recall the Magi's visit to Jesus with their precious gifts, worshiping and paying homage to Him as King of the Jews (Matthew 2:2).

While in many cultures throughout the world, Epiphany is regarded as a holiday to be celebrated unto itself, in American tradition, the Wise Men are, more often than not, reduced to being cameos in a nativity scene.  Their arrival in Bethlehem, instead of occurring months or possibly years after Jesus' birth as some scholars contend, becomes simultaneous with the appearance of the Son of God into the world.

And after Christmas Day is past, most families hustle and bustle to dismantle all the decorations, storing them safely away before the New Year rolls around.  Stashing the three Wise Men along with the rest, though their official day of recognition and remembrance has yet to come.

Not me.

Not this year.

Not in any future year.

No more putting-up-the-tree and frantically decorating the day after Thanksgiving.

Because Christmas Day doesn't end the season of Christmas, it begins it.  Twelve days.  Twelve glee-filled, glorious, lights-twinkling, deck-the-halls days to celebrate the coming of the Light of the World.

I think it's high time to revive this tried and true tradition.

So although I will take down the decorations the day before Epiphany, my handsome trio of Wise Men will remain on display until the sun goes down on their special day.

After all, being the first ones to recognize Jesus as the one and only King, they deserve their moment in the spotlight.







And thanks be to God, like the Magi of old, wise men and women still seek Him.

Amen!

28 comments:

  1. I agree with you. We do not take down the decorations until the 6th January - the Epiphany when the wise men visited Jesus.

    Although I have often questioned their wisdom. Who in his right mind would take incense to a new born baby? Can you imagine the coughing and spluttering as the smoke filled that small barn. It is any wonder that Joseph did not punch that so called wise man in the eye!

    God bless you. Have a wonderful New Year to you and your family.

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    1. Lol, Victor! Maybe the incense was saved for later?
      Glad someone else I know observes the twelve days of Christmas, my friend.
      Hope your New Year is the best!
      Love and blessings!

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  2. I never take down the Christmas decorations until Epiphany either. The wise men were "wise men". Your figures are gorgeous. And they are important to the story. I just said to my husband the other day how their gifts were a small fortune to the poor family from Nazareth and he said it must have funded them for quite awhile and Jesus would have been well taken care of. He didn't go hungry or homeless. And the gold would have helped them to move to Egypt when Herod went after the babies.

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing your take on the Magi's gifts, Kathy. I never looked at it this way before, and it adds such a rich (pun intended) attribute to the story of Jesus' family.
      And thanks, too, for your compliment regarding the Wise Men. We were so fortunate to stumble across this hand-painted set of nativity figures at a local antiques/collectable shop ten years ago. I can't not marvel at the painstaking labor of love it must have been to create them.
      Love and blessings!

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  3. never heard of Three Kings Day or Epiphany (except when someone has one). Jo is in charge of the decorations. I just live there. :) She puts them up and takes them down. She took them down a day or two after Christmas. our living room is not that big and she wanted "her space" back. Argue? Nope. That is my epiphany! :)

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    1. LOL, Bill! Yep, that's your epiphany, alright. And I must say, I can't blame Jo for wanting her space back. Only natural. Happy New Year to the both of you!
      Love and blessings!

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  4. I have never heard of the Epiphany, Martha. Very interesting. Their lives always inspire me though. Can you imagine how long it took for them to travel in those days? They must have had such a deep heart longing to undertake such a journey. And it's amazing how God through them showed us Gentiles are welcome, too. Also, how God provided for Joseph and Mary through their gifts. Thank you for these thoughts! My husband has taken down decorations, but we are leaving the nativity scene up longer. :) Have a Blessed 2018! Love and hugs!

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    1. Yes, Trudy, the Wise Men have always held a fascination for me, too, and for the very reasons you've stated here. I've often wondered, too, if they were the only ones who could actually see the star, or if they were the only people who truly understood what its shining portended. Maybe we'll never know, but that doesn't take away from their importance in the story of Jesus.
      Glad to know your nativity scene is staying up longer. Maybe until Epiphany (January 6)?
      Love and blessings!

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  5. Martha, your post was a literal "epiphany" to me. I knew that the wise men most likely did not see Jesus until months, possibly years after his birth, however, I had never heard of celebrating Epiphany. I'm going to now!
    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Wow, Beckie, that's great news that you will observe Epiphany from now on. Such a special time as we continue to celebrate Christ's coming into the world.
      Love and blessings!

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  6. Martha,
    Thank you for sharing more about the wise men and Epiphany. It wasn't until I started attending the UMC that I learned about Epiphany. The backstory of the wise men is pretty amazing--they learned well and kept up the teaching of the Old Testament prophet, Daniel, so they knew the signs of the times, even if Jesus' own people missed it.

    As for me? I decided to leave my decorations up until at least Epiphany, if not a bit longer. After all, I was a bit late decorating! :)

    Love and blessings!

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    1. Yes, Kim, it is quite amazing that these Wise Men, Gentiles themselves as Trudy noted above, recognized the significance of the star when the Jews didn't make the connection. I'm glad you are leaving your decorations up a bit longer, too. Next year, I plan to put out the nativity and Advent wreath/calendars early, but save the tree for closer to Christmas.
      Love and blessings!

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  7. I LOVE this! Thank you for sharing this with us. When I was a child we NEVER took the tree or decorations down until after Jan. 6th. I always thought it was because that was my mother's birthday, and she didn't want us to take it down before then! She said that was her family tradition growing up. But as I grew and understood about Epiphany, I saw the real reason behind the date...and I love that tradition as well. I don't know If our tree will last that long this year, but it's still here, and so are the wise men. You've just helped me to not feel so rushed to take it all down. Thank you for that permission!!! Happy new Year

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    1. What a great story you have shared here, Pamela! Yes, with a live tree, keeping it up can be tricky to say the least. We have an artificial one, so freshness is never an issue, though I really miss that aromatic scent of pine.
      And I'm glad you no longer feel rushed to get it all down and put away. Just enjoy!
      Love and blessings!

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  8. It's true that I've overlooked the timing and significance of this event. Thanks for explaining it more fully to me. This post had information AND inspiration!!

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    1. Thank you so much, Galen! Your thoughtful words mean so much to me. So glad this post inspired you to think differently about this most treasured time of year.
      Love and blessings!

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  9. Because Christmas Day doesn't end the season of Christmas, it begins it. I love that sentence and I keep my nativity up all year. A friend bought me the three wise men last year on my birthday so this is something I am going to pass on to her. Happy New Year..

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    1. Oh, Betty, I think that is absolutely wonderful that you keep up your nativity scene up all year! Couldn't we all learn a lesson from that? Like Scrooge, vowing to keep Christmas in his heart all the year through, it can remind us of our Light coming into the world as a baby, and coming again to take us home.
      Love and blessings!

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  10. Such an interesting read there Martha, I wasn't aware about this and it is really wonderful to know the significance behind it all.

    Happy New Year my friend!

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Privy, and that it gave you some information with which you hadn't been acquainted. It's always my hope here to inspire, God willing!
      Love and blessings, and Happy New Year!

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  11. Lovely post, Martha! It should be Christmas and Easter in our hearts--EVERYDAY!
    Blessings!

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    1. Christmas and Easter in our hearts, everyday . . . Oh, yes, Lulu, that's exactly how it should be. May God help us to see Jesus in the everyday and the mundane.
      Love and blessings!

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  12. You make a great point, Martha. Wise indeed. They were not only wise, but well off enough to know to give a generous portion to God Himself. That speaks volumes.

    Thanks for the mind opening post and the encouragement to honor our Savior throughout the year.

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    1. Maybe, Floyd, the Wise Men were the first Gentiles to honor the tithe? Love how you made this observation and connection. Made me think!
      So gratified that you enjoyed this post, my friend.
      Love and blessings!

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  13. Happy New Year, Martha! I'm with you ... I'm in no way ready to part with Christmas and the hope and light it brings. Thanks for the reminder about the wise men, too.

    None of the joy we've experienced from Christ's birth should be boxed up for next year.

    Meanwhile, the candles will stay lit in every window come late afternoon. The winter needs their warmth, their hope, their welcome.

    Bless you, girl ...

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    1. Oh, yes, Linda, keep those candles burning! And let us never box up the joy of the season - it should reside in and shine from our hearts every day of the year.
      Love and blessings, and Happy New Year to you!

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  14. I'm with you about savoring Christmas. Allow it to put in deep roots in our lives and hearts. Love gazing at the close up pics of wise men!

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    1. I'm so glad you're with me in savoring Christmas, Jean, and that you liked these wise men. They are a part of a very unique nativity set that I adore!
      Love and blessings!

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