Advent Devotional Series 2019 – Day 22

Matthew 2:1-12 

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’ When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:

“And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
    who is to shepherd my people Israel.”’

Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.’ When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

How to read the Daily News

The ‘BREAKING NEWS’ of the day didn’t arrive via flashy TV pundits, internet, Twitter, or a newspaper headline. The news came slowly, observed by some and heard secondhand by others. Just like our breaking news, not everyone takes in the message in the same ways.

‘Where is the child?’ The prophets foretold his arrival, the stars announce it is time. Some prepare to worship, while Herod is ‘troubled’ – just like today, what is good news to some is troubling to others. Even among the powerful King Herod and the Wise Men – the news evokes very different responses.

These differences in responses are often hard to detect – the worshippers and the duplicitous can sound the same, making it hard to know how to act. So hard, that the Wise Men – having read the stars and the prophets correctly, journey far and come with gifts to worship – are uncertain about what to do with Herod.

They rejoice with the child Jesus and his parents – how could they not give Herod the same opportunity, after he asked so politely? Even these Wise Men need help, they need a warning from the divine. I suspect what makes them wise is that they accept the help, they listen to the voice and respond to their dream. ‘they departed for their own country by another way’

This advent season, let us be wise and accept the help we need.