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Like the magi

Like the magi

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Waiting for Christmas, we try on different
roles for ourselves to at least somehow, join this event.
Last years I imagined myself as a shepherd. We
sit in darkness and uncertainty, in poverty and fear. And then suddenly —
light, angels, joy. The shepherds are in a hurry to see the born King, and then
tell other people about him.
This year I presented myself in the role of the wise man. Magi are in no hurry and are not surprised. They follow the star
calmly and confidently. They prepared themselves for the meeting. And they know how to
behave.
Yes, I still want to be surprised. But even more
I want to be confident and respectful, loyal and reverent in relation to the
King.
So were the magi.
About the magi we read that
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 (Matthew 2:11).
 
They did not ask questions, did not tell about what they had
seen and experienced. They bowed and brought gifts.
This act of worship is the most important thing I see in the
Christmas picture today. And this is the most unpopular, the most neglected
detail.
We all want to get something, we love Christmas gifts. But
these magi do not receive, they give. They give their «treasures».
And then — with their bows — they give themselves.
The behavior of these sages indicates that they were able to
see in the infant the King of Kings. They saw in Jesus more than the deliverer
of Israel, the savior from sins, the righteous, the prophet, the teacher. They
recognized Jesus as a King of “heaven and earth”.
As
Jonathan Pennington has emphasized, Matthew frequently links “heaven” and
“earth” (Matt. 6:10; 16:19; 18:18-19; 28:2). The phrase “heaven and earth”
(Matt. 5:18; 11:25) goes back to Genesis 1:1 and 2:1-4, and refers to the whole
of creation. Adam’s sin put heaven and earth out of sync. Earth goes its own
way, ignoring the God of heaven. There is a king in heaven, but earth is enslaved
to the “prince of this world.” When the angels sing to the shepherds, we know
God’s will is being done on earth as it is in heaven—that heaven and earth will
be ruled by a single Lord (Matt. 28:18). When we hear that choir, we know the
Lord is retuning earth to harmony with heaven.
But it seems to me that we believe in Jesus as heavenly King
and give up earth to the “prince of this world”. If we do this we denounce
Jesus as Lord and reduce His power only to spiritual life and far future.  
The way magi meet the born Messiah is a worthy example for
us. They worship Jesus as only King. They ignore Herod and others. Are we ready
to fall and worship, open our treasures and bring gifts to Jesus as only King?
Well known writer Dallas Willard tell the truth about
contemporary people: “They have become
people so locked into their own self-worship and denial of God that they cannot
want God… The reason they do not find God is that they do not want him or, at
least, do not want him to be God. Wanting God to be God is very different from
wanting God to help me”.
Do we want Him to be God? Do we want Christ to be our God? Do
we want to worship Christ as our God and Lord?
I remember a story from my deep childhood. On a farm covered
with snow, we gathered around the Christmas tree by candlelight and waited for
presents. And when at last we received them, one of the adults suddenly asked:
“Children, and who is ready to give his gift to Jesus?”. I still remember how
we were silent and thought how we wanted to be good and how it was difficult to
share our “treasures”.
As poet Joseph Brodsky said, « When it’s
Christmas we’re all of us magi»
Usually «we’re all of us magi» hurry with the gifts
home, to loved ones and relatives.
But if Christmas is the birth of the King and the Messiah,
then we need to be prepared for more than family feast. Perhaps we need to overcome
our children’s ideas of Christmas and come to Jesus a little more mature, ready
not only to take, but also to give; not only to have fun, but also to worship;
not only to meet friends, but also to meet King of Kings.
Wait for Christmas as Simeon and Anna.
Hurry like shepherds.
Bow as magi.
Worship Christ as only God, our personal Savior and Lord of
heaven and earth. 

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