Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Wise Guidance for Christmas

As we approach another holiday season, my thoughts take me to Matthew’s gospel and a few guys who knew a lot about making a successful Christmas journey. Here are some facts from their story I found very helpful. I trust they will be enlightening to you too. 1. Be Wise. The Wise Men were, well… wise. This not only describes their job as magi or wise men for Persian Royals, it also says what was true of them. They were men of wisdom. At Christmas time it seems wisdom is always called for but too often buried under a month of feel good, impulse decisions that too often create in its wake eleven months of regret. At Christmas, financial wisdom is needed to spend appropriately. Relational wisdom is needed to deal with that one relative (or a dozen) that seems to know just how to turn your egg nog. And spiritual wisdom is needed to keep the focus on Christ through all the many festivities that will call for our time and focus. May we be wise people. 2. Approach the Season as a Journey. The magi journeyed a long way to find the Christ Child. It is helpful to approach the season of time from Thanksgiving Day to Christmas Day as a journey. The celebration of Advent is the way Christians have historically reenacted the anticipation that preceded the first arrival (advent) of Christ. This is why I love advent calendars. They help me savor this Season as a daily journey and not just a one day event. May we enjoy and fully experience the Advent journey. 3. Remember the Search is for a King. What raised the intensity and excitement of the magi’s journey is for whom they were searching. They were not combat shopping, better known as Black Friday shopping. I am assured by many that there is an adrenaline rush that comes with combat shopping though personally I do not have that Black Friday adrenaline gland. The Magi were not driven by the quest to land the latest toy or gadget. The thrill of the wise men’s journey was what was at stake. What waited at the end of a successful journey would change their lives. May we search as those searching for a living King, not merely for a historical figure. 4. Be Willing to Learn. The magi were really smart guys and yet their humility is what made finding Christ a possibility for them. Intelligence alone never leads anyone to Christ (or away from him for that matter). The journey always eventually requires faith and humility. The Magi first went to Jerusalem thinking they would find the king there. They were wrong. He was born in Bethlehem. Yet, to their credit they didn’t try to make an argument for, "The Rightness of Israel’s King Birthed in the City of David.” No, in joyful humility they turned and traveled to Bethlehem. We get the most out of any experience when we are willing to learn. Willingness to learn means, in part, being open to truths we don’t know and admit that some assumptions we hold may be wrong. May we be humble enough to learn and to change. 5. Spontaneously Worship. These smart worldly men spontaneously worshipped when, at the end of their search, they found Christ. The first gift they gave Christ was not gold, frankincense nor myrrh. They first offered their search, then their worship, then their treasures. Their worship was spontaneous and full of joy! May our journey to Christmas Day be sprinkled with divine encounters and may it culminate in spontaneous overflowing joy at the feet of Christ the King. This Christmas season will provide the opportunity to once again journey toward Christ. Enjoy the Season and learn from the journey.

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