Jesus is born and already things are happening! These wise men from the East are following a star with the idea that a new child is born to be King of the Jews. They go to King Herod and tell them they are here in search of this child king. Notice that “king of the Jews” is a title not used again until Jesus is arrested and before Pilate. Further, Herod is in this story and in the Gospel of Luke at Jesus’ arrest. Also, frankincense and myrrh are oils used in preparing a body for burial, funny gifts for a child.
When we read this story, we see some parallels that take us from the birth of Jesus to the death of Jesus. In addition to the connections just mentioned, we also know that the Jews rejected Christ and at his birth, it is the Wise Men (not Jews) that accept him, even as a baby. The Jews in Jerusalem are afraid of Herod. The Wise Men sneak off and shun Herod and return without reporting in. Herod is infuriated and went on a rampage killing children two years old and younger.
This story is about jealousy, deceit, fear, hatred, murder, power, and preservation at all cost. It is also a story about innocence, grace, love, humility, and obedience. It is a story about God entering our crazy world and having both incredible visitors and homage and incredible threats of destruction. This story reminds us that from the very beginning, Jesus light is not very popular with some people. — God’s plan will be met with resistance.
In the midst of the joy of Christmas we are reminded of the realities of our world. Jesus is not welcomed everywhere. Jesus provides a message of love and grace, but people within the body of Christ and outside the body of Christ are not willing to accept that. The religious conflict we have today, have been from the very beginning. However, the light of Christ reached the Wise Men, and for 2,000 years, it continues to reach people and shine in the hearts and minds of many.