Do you need a lift? Guess who got the first Christmas lift—the wise men.
Matthew 2: 1Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. 3When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 9When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 10When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
Consider the reaction of the wise men. Imagine how they felt walking out of Herod’s palace. They had never been to Jerusalem before. They were probably given directions to Bethlehem being told to go eight miles south, but when they saw the star they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
This echoes what the angel said to the shepherds. They received good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. The wise men heard no angels. They had a silent star than brightly shined in the sky. It was visible to the whole world.
People react differently to Christmas. Instead of rejoicing, King Herod felt his little throne threatened and soon ordered the murder of two years old and under males in Bethlehem. The star was meant to be a lift to everyone. The wise men had good reason to be excited. In face of fear and uncertainty aroused by their visit to Herod, they read his body language and knew he didn’t like their news. He was the worldly king. The wise men were searching for the King of Kings. That set him off.
Herod was successful in politics. He had good standing in Rome. He built the temple. He was, however, a very mean and cruel man. History tells us he was so jealous of his position that he had his children killed to keep the throne to himself. He had wives killed too. The wise men were looking for Jesus, THE King. They followed this star because they recognized its significance. It meant a king had been born, the Messiah. They came westward from the east. They knew they were in the right country and logically thought the king would be in the capital city of Jerusalem. When they got there, no one knew a thing about it.
God reigns on his throne, and it may not be where we expect it to be. It may not seem like the Lord is in our portion of life, but he’s never far away. For the wise men, he was a mere eight miles away. God was in control. Whether it’s eight or eight million miles, he will always be in control. The devil has no control over the Lord. What he says stands. Regardless of what rule he appears to have, Satan is not in control. Regardless of what the devil throws at you, the star still shines. It will take you to the Lord.
The wise men saw through Herod. We can see through what the devil tries to do. The oddest things happen at Christmas time. People get keyed up. We still have trials and afflictions. The Herods of the world are still defeated. Jesus was born anyway, despite Herod. It wasn’t long after this that Herod died suddenly. The Son of God lived on until he bore our sins and then he rose on the third day. He’s in heaven now while Herod is in the place of retribution.
The wise men ran into the worst person possible, but they looked skyward. Gone was the disappointment and apprehension they felt in Herod. The burden was lifted. The star led the way to the King, and they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
All around us is a complacent Jerusalem. The reactions to the holiday are varied. Christmas brings reaction. You may feel disappointed in Santa, but Jesus doesn’t disappoint anyone. The world will. Life will. Holidays will, but Christmas won’t. Jesus is Christmas, and he’s true to his word.
The wise men rejoiced on the palace steps because they saw the star. His star is still shining. Do you need a lift? Look up. See what God has in the Star of Bethlehem. It shows us Jesus. Put your Herods behind you. The wise men returned home a different way with the Christ child in their hearts. We can make it because the star still shines. Six months from now when the heat of July is upon us, the star will still be shining. Jesus will still be the same.
Whatever palace steps you’re standing on, look up. Receive the lift that Jesus gives.