Matthew 2:9-11 After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Everyone was chattering about the Christmas star that appeared in the southwest sky last night. It was supposed to be seen best about 45 minutes after sunset. I was still at work at that time, and we are still seeing any possible COVID patients in the parking lot. I was walking in and out of the building to check on patients while scanning the night sky. I had already asked my husband to get my camera out because I wanted to try to get a good picture of the star. When I arrived home at 7:40, he greeted me at my vehicle, and we drove over to the cow field. Thankfully he had a flashlight to guide our steps so that we would not step in one of the many land mines left behind by the cattle. We looked to the southwest sky, and we found the brightest star, but sadly it was a little too late for a great photo-op. It was still quite surreal. We were standing out in a cow pasture on a cold, dark night, looking up to the heavens trying to find the brightest star. It was a clear, beautiful night, and there were so many beautiful stars in the sky. It was impossible not to reflect on the glory of our God.
A couple thousand years ago, the brightest star ever known to man lit up the western sky. God ordained it, and it was so. Let’s consider the wise men today. We often think of there being only three of them, because only three gifts were mentioned, but technically the Bible doesn’t cite a number. We do know that these men were likely to have been from a certain group of priestly scholars also known as Magi. They studied many things including astronomy and ancient writings. Many scholars believe that they were from the royal courts of Babylonia and Persia. These men knew the ancient writings, and they knew that God would give a sign when the Christ child was born (Isaiah 7:14). They had never seen a star like this one before, and we have never seen one since. It must have been a spectacular site!
When the wise men saw this brighter than life star in the western sky, they knew that it meant something really big had happened, and from their studies of ancient writings, they must have put two and two together and realized that this was the sign sent by God to alert the world of the newborn King. They followed the star to Bethlehem, and they found the Child in a home with His parents. (Note: they weren’t in the stable any longer, so the wise men arrived some time after the shepherds. The lowly guys received the first invitation.) The wise men brought gifts to celebrate the arrival of this newborn King. The gifts were fairly strange, but fitting for this particular King. The first gift was gold which symbolized Kingship on earth. The second gift was frankincense which was an incense that represented the deity of Christ. Lastly, they gifted the King with myrrh. What a weird gift to give a newborn baby. Myrrh was an embalming oil and symbolized the coming death of the King. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never taken gold, incense, or especially embalming oil to a baby shower, but that’s what these guys did. They had studied the scripture. They knew the prophecy, and we can tell this by the gifts that they brought as the gifts symbolized Christ’s Kingship, His deity, and eventually the death that He would endure for our salvation. That’s pretty deep!
The wise men knew the prophecy, and when they saw the guiding light, it led them right to the Christ child. These men were not the only men who knew the prophecy. What about the scribes and priests of the day? What about the religious leaders that knew the law and recited the scripture on a daily basis? They knew of the coming Messiah, yet when this guiding light lit up the night sky, they didn’t go and look for the King. Why do you think that was? Our pastor touched on this a bit in last Sunday’s sermon. I think it is because a lot of people have head knowledge of Christ. They know who He is. They have been to church, they have even studied the Word, and they know all about Christ, but these people do NOT know Christ. They have the head knowledge, but they don’t have heart knowledge. Apparently, the wise men had both! That’s why we call them wise!
The alignment of Jupiter and Saturn last night was a great sight to see, but it was nothing in comparison to that great star of Bethlehem that directed the wise men to Christ. We look up into the sky and search for that guiding light, the star of Bethlehem, and we do not see it. It is no longer there. The Christ child is no longer in a home in Bethlehem. We can’t follow a star in the sky to find Him, but have no fear. We have the Son to guide us now, and that is better than any star. He fills us with the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit guides our paths. When we give Him full reign of our lives, that bright guiding Light within us takes us exactly where we need to go. That guiding Light is within each and every believer in Christ. Do you have the Light within you? Are you letting the true guiding Light lead you today? Are you pointing others to the Light?
We knew about the Christmas star because it was all over the news. We knew to go out and look for it last night. The wise men knew the stars well, and they knew the ancient scriptures. They didn’t have a news team to alert them. They saw this guiding light, and they followed it to the King. When you look up at night and see all of the beautiful stars dancing in the sky, remember that one bright star, and let those stars remind you of Jesus. Let them remind you of the true Light, and point others to the Light. Look for Christ today…if you look for Him, I guarantee you that you will find Him. He is the Light in this dark world! Follow the guiding Light!