One of my favorite stories at Christmastime is the story of the Magi. The day after Christmas so many people take down their trees, pack up their decorations, and clean up every little last bit of tinsel that exists in their home. Christmas is over – right? No, Christmas is not over. The Magi have not arrived. These three wisemen who are traveling from a far off land are still traveling, hoping to visit the newborn King. Although Herod sent them (I should say Herod tried to trick them) to spy on this new King, their lives would be forever changed after meeting Him. So much that they would “return to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.” (Matthew 2:12)
Herod was waiting for these men. His anger was building. Herod the Great reminds me of one of those villains in a Disney movie. In my mind, Herod is a tyrant. He is screaming and yelling like a crazy man because he has been duped by these hand picked men. Herod has a great plan to rule his land yet he is not a descendant of David. Everyone in the Jewish culture knows that ultimately the greatest King will be a descendant of David. Herod must overcome this little nuisance of a rumor. He must squash it with all his power. Can’t you just see him calling all his guards, servants and anyone that will listen to his plans?
Do you know people like that at work or in your everyday life? I am scared to say I know people like this and I have been a person like this. You make this great plan as to what life will look like, then these crazy people show up and shake up your well laid plan. You have two choices – you can use your power to destroy these people OR you can find a way to work with these people. Let’s face it, most of us do not like our egos to be hit by others and when that happens; we retaliate. That is exactly what Herod did. He ordered the death of all baby boys in Bethlehem. Kill them all! That will eliminate these people who think Herod should not be king. That will show the Jews to mess with him!
Joseph, Jesus’ father, was on to Herod. God kept Joseph apprised on how to handle Herod and to escape his tyranny. Because of this Jesus flew under the radar for quite some time. Atleast long enough for Herod to die and for Herod’ son to take over. My guess is Herod’s son had been under his dad’s reign for long enough. He now could start his own empire with his own rules.
Herod the Great ruled for over 30 years. I guess term limits were out of the question back then. Heck, term limits seem to be an issue even today. Some people just don’t like to give up that power. They think no one can do it better. They get stuck in the thought process that they know how to do it and no one else will understand. Power, control and wealth rule over common sense and spirituality.
Ah, but the Magi knew the importance of common sense and spirituality. After meeting this beautiful baby boy that would ultimately be a King, the Magi’s lives were forever changed. You know what? Our lives are forever changed when we meet the King too. My days of ruling by force and power are over. I have made the Herod mistake one too many times. I have tried to control all angles of my life and other people’s live too many times. Allowing God to melt my heart and show me the beauty of spirituality over power was the perfect change in my life.
Money, power, control – these can all lead to a successful life. Just look at Herod. Herod sure didn’t seem happy though – yelling and screaming, conniving and killing, manipulating and being duped. That doesn’t seem like a happy life. Ultimately, when you allow your spiritual self to guide your decisions, then you will see a much brighter path. I am not saying there won’t be disruptions in life, but my guess is you won’t find yourself killing anyone over your struggles if God I leading the way.
Yes, the Magi are so often forgotten, but they are the ones we need to look to during this Christmas season. I personally, keep my lights shining bright in my house in hopes of their arrival. Just knowing that out there three men are journeying to see this awesome King, and their lives will be forever changed because they followed God and turned their backs on power and wealth– well let’s just say it’s the best Christmas present I can imagine – the gift of spirituality!