Theme of the Week: Christmas Carols
Bible Verse: “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 when it rose and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1-2
Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 16:1-23
Judging by the documentaries on Netflix and the number of podcasts dedicated to the mysteries of the Universe, it’s safe to say we’re still obsessed with stars, black holes, comets, super novas, and the rules that govern them.
With the launch of the James Webb telescope, we can see even deeper into the starry night, and come away just as amazed and breathless.
However, obsession with the wonder of the universe while failing to acknowledge the Creator is a masterclass in missing the point.
But just as our culture has become more enamored with the medium of the message, rather than the message and its sender, we too get hung up on the medium of Christmas. The beautiful lights, the perfect dinners, buying the most expensive present, receiving the most expensive present, they should only shine a light on the town of Bethlehem. Yet, so often we are more like deer in headlights rather than magi following a star.
The more I think about it, the more I admire the three wise men. Wondrous signs aside, they were doggedly committed to their practical mission.
What could’ve been going through their minds and hearts on the long pilgrimage to Bethlehem?
The carol, We Three Kings also known as We Three Kings of Orient Are or The Quest of the Magi is a fascinating speculative look into the men who followed the star.
Composed in 1857 for a Christmas pageant, John Henry Hopkins Jr. penned on of the most enduring carols from this mysterious part of the story. In the carol, Hopkins Jr. exposes the motivation and significance of their gifts and brings the listener back to the heart of the story; pulling us into a place of worship and reverence for God’s generous gift in sending His son.
If such a sign would appear in the sky today, I imagine our modern Magi (astronomers) would get caught up in the mystery that they wouldn’t see what the sign points to.
But can we say wouldn’t have the same focus? Do we get hung up on the “what” and all the small details, or do we celebrate the “why” and “who” it is all for?
Prayer: Father, thank You for the wonder and mystery of your amazing universe and how it reminds us in small ways and big ways that You are worthy of all our worship and praise. Help us see every external expression of Christmas as a star that points us to a place of worship at the feet of our King.
Reflection: As your senses are overwhelmed with the sights and sounds of Christmas and the multitudes of ways people celebrate, resist the urge to focus on the medium but rather give your full attention to the message and the messenger.
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