Honored by Shepherds and Magi
So we're here again celebrating Christmas. As is typical, there are a few different categories of people we can identify during this season, including:
some who simply see this as a time to buy presents for family and friends;
some who really don't care at all about any meaning of Christmas and see it as just some time off to relax or do what they want;
and, some who recognize this time when we focus on the birth of the much prophesied Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus).
As you probably know or at least could guess, at Lighthouse Christian School, we are decidedly followers of Jesus and, obviously, fall into the last category. Jesus really is the reason for the season.
In the New Testament books of Matthew and Luke we read of the angelic announcements to Mary and Joseph and subsequent birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. If you don't know, these events were actually prophesied as many as hundreds of years earlier. So their coming to pass is miraculous in and of themselves. Devout Jews of the day often, if not daily, read and studied the scriptures and knew well the scriptures that foretold the coming of the Messiah.
The Lowly Shepherds
Luke the Apostle tells us of the shepherds in the field who were met by a heavily host of angels announcing the birth of the long-awaited Messiah that very night. Immediately, they rushed to find Mary and Joseph holding their newly born baby Jesus, the Messiah. How ironic is it that God chose some lowly sheep herders to be the first to hear the news of the birth and among the first to see the baby Jesus! Incidentally, shepherds were among the dregs of society and scorned by many. Yet, despite their positions in society, they were entrusted with this amazing proclamation, who's story would continue to be told thousands of years later. Miraculous!
The Wealthy Magi
Jesus' disciple Matthew tells us in chapter 2 of his gospel account that after this miraculous birth, magi from the east arrived at the court of King Herod asking "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him." Actually, to clear up some confusion, these magi, or wise men as they're referred, arrive on the scene when Jesus is somewhere between the ages of 1 and 2 years old. These guys were no doubt wealthy and educated men. They represented a vast difference between the lowly shepherds who received the first announcement. But the fact remains, each group of these people worshiped Jesus the Messiah.
It cannot be overemphasized that the power of the gospel (good news) reaches every demographic. When Jesus' disciple John wrote in his gospel, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son...", He really meant that His gift was for the whole world, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, occupation, economic level or any other category we can think of to divide us. Whether we accept that gift is up to us.
If you don't know God, this Christmas can be the best one ever if you accept the greatest gift in the history of all mankind.... Jesus!