Christ is Born!
“Where did she go?” As a father, that question sent chills up my spine! Our youngest had wandered off and I couldn’t see her. It was a crowded area and all my police training had me imagining the worst. Not knowing where she was was a terror I don’t think I had ever felt. And I have been shot at!
By God’s grace, she was found just moments later looking at some toy that had caught her eye in that very crowded store!
But what a powerful moment to get a glimpse of the pain of loss and confusion, facing the missing one you love. Looking for the object of your love is a natural place for us humans, and that makes sense. You see, our Creator looks for us as well.
Look at our lesson today in Matthew 2:1-12:
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet: ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel.’”
Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared; and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” When they had heard the king they went their way; and lo the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
We know this story so well, but on this first day of Christmas, let’s revisit familiar words and see with new eyes the marvel of the Enfleshing of God for our sake!
We see the three Wise Men from the East, more than likely followers of the Zoroastrian religion in Persia, who had discerned from their watching the stars, that the Jewish King had been born. These Gentiles seemed to be more aware of the events in Bethlehem even more than the Jewish leaders who had been prepared for 6000 years to expect the Messiah’s coming. These Gentile pagans were looking for the King. So, naturally, they went to the king at the time, the Roman puppet king Herod, to ask about this momentous happening that they must have been convinced the whole city was focused on. But, alas, it was not so. The leaders in Jerusalem were still asleep to the coming of the Messiah. It took these pagan Gentiles to wake them up to the Event that would change the world.
Herod’s arrogance and fear were not enough to dissuade these seekers and they continued following the Star to the place where He was born!
Their seeking paid off. Now let’s switch to Another moment when Someone went looking for a missing child. Let’s go all the way back to the beginning when Adam and Eve were hiding from God in the Garden. The Voice echoes through the paradise “Adam, where are you?” God, the loving Father knew where His disobedient children were, but He needed them to realize that they were the ones lost. So God comes looking for His missing children!
Today, as the saying goes, wise men still seek Him. But, more importantly, He is still seeking you. He enfleshed Himself to come and find you. He lived, and lives, for you. Do you know that you are lost? Do you know you don’t have to be anymore? No, Christ is born and now you can be found by Being Orthodox on Purpose!
P.S. Today, the Virgin bears Him who is transcendent, and the earth presents the cave to Him who is beyond reach. Angels, along with shepherds glorify Him. The Magi make their way to Him by a star. For a new child has been born for us, the God before all ages. Amen
A Special Message from Fr. Barnabas: Christ is Born! Glorify Him. As this year comes to a close, I can’t thank you enough for your kind support and love. We are almost at our goal for giving this season, and you made that possible. May the Light WHo comes to us today as a newborn Child light our way forward until the whole world bows before Him Who loves us more than we, ourselves, know how to love! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.