Below is the Christmas message Patti composed and shared with the AHG staff at their Christmas celebration this year.
Wise Men Still Seek Him
I have always been fascinated by the story of the Magi visiting the Newborn King Jesus. As a child I imagined finding a star as large and as bright as the star of Bethlehem in the night sky. I would peek out the double window of my parent’s bedroom and wonder would I be as brave as the Magi and follow a star to find the path it illuminated? Not to claim I was a deep thinking theologian at age 5, I must admit that wonderment fell in the same category of belief that a falling star on Christmas eve was a sure sign that Santa’s entourage on his way to my house. Jesus and Santa were pretty much what Christmas meant to me.
Now as I have aged, and I know that Santa’s work comes straight from my pocketbook, and my love for Christ has grown exponentially, I remain fascinated with the travels of the wise men and their obedience to follow that Star. Upon study, those traveling kings have come to life beyond the words of the beloved song We Three Kings .
I’d like to share a little about the royalty who sought the Christ Child:
- Not sure if there were only three, but the Gospel mentions three gifts and from there scholars determined the Three Kings. Their names are not mentioned in the New Testament’s book of Matthew. A Greek manuscript composed around 500 AD identified the travelers as Melchior – a Persian scholar and a King of Persia, Caspar – an Indian scholar and King and Balthazar- an Arabian scholar and king.
- All were part of the priestly caste of Zoroastrianism- a religion which paid particular attention to the sky’s stars – and this study was considered a science. The word "magic" came from the word "Magi", and although these kings were not involved in sorcery, the term was used at that time for the occult.
- The magi traveled over 800 miles to see the illuminated city of Bethlehem . Before finding the Child the kings met with their peer, King Herod, to ask for the exact location of the child who has been born king of the Jews, we have observed his star at its rising and have come to pay him homage. This question of course frightened Herod and worried him about his own position. Herod quickly gathered his high priests to learn of where the king of the Jews was born- the fulfillment of prophecy. What is known as the Massacre of the Innocents (boys 2 years and younger) ensued.
- Historical timelines would show that the Wise Men’s question to Herod and the killing of the children that ensued does not put the beloved Magi at the Manger scenes like I have at my home, but rather up to two winters later. Scripture is clear that the Magi visited the King of the Jews in a home, not a manger.
· What is known about the manger scene is that the first to visit with the newborn King, the royal of royals, God’s own son – were the lowly shepherds in the field and..... perhaps the Little Drummer Boy :). I love this ….that God chose the lowest of the low to see His divinity first – isn’t this so true of us….God choosing us to know His son?
· What is also so cool to me is that the academic elite of the time from today’s non believing and often Christian hating countries of the Middle East, put their reputations on the line, left their homes and followed a star to discover the Christ Child.
Do you think the Magi were shocked at what they found? A baby king not in a gilded cradle but rather wrapped in a rag, nestled in straw, lovingly cared for by a young virgin mother and his shocked, ill prepared father?
· And the gifts, let’s not forget the gifts. The gesture is the beginning of a long tradition of gift giving on the birthday of our Lord. They are interesting and clearly described in the Book of Matthew:
All were typical offerings given to a king. But these gifts also represented a spiritual meaning:
- Gold – symbol of kingship on Earth
- Frankincense – a symbol of Deity
- Myrrh – an embalming oil and a symbol of death
But let’s get back to that Star. The Star was proclaimed in the Hebrew Scriptures and particularly the Messianic prophecies. Learned people studied the scrolls and knew to anticipate the coming of the Star.
Today the Star of Bethlehem stands as a symbol of hope, a symbol of Deity and a symbol of obedience. The wise men so long ago followed the Star over 800 miles on camel back to discover the Christ Child. Today’s American Heritage Girl only needs to look at AHG's iconic logo to discover the Star’s importance to the ministry in which we serve. You know it, the form of a girl stretching her hand to the Star of Bethlehem.
And with the fun we have had and will continue to have today, I pray that throughout the next year your heart seeks the Babe whose birth was heralded by that amazing Star and obediently follow Him thus discovering the most amazing gift ever given to any man, the gift of God’s own Son. We, the undeserving recipient of this gift are modern day shepherds called to the manger throne of the King of Kings.
For one thing I know for certain:
Wise Men still seek Him.
Until Next Time,