Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Story: The Wise Men (Matthew 2:1-12)

Some time after the birth of the Savior, we read in the account of Matthew that there came wise men from the east.  They had seen the star that shone brightly that first Christmas night and had followed it to Jerusalem.  There they met King Herod.   I can imagine the dignity that these men expressed when they marched into Herod's throne and asked "Where is he that is born King of the Jews?"

"The Holy Men" by Liz Lemon Swindle

Herod was obviously troubled by their question, but inquired of the chief priests.  They gave him the information he was looking for, quoting the prophets of old.  Herod passed the information on to the wise men and told them to come back after they had visited the Christ child.

The wise men went and found Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus.  They presented to the babe their gifts of frankincense, gold, and myrrh.  Then they departed to their homes, going another way and avoiding the evil King Herod.  

The wise men through their examples teach us a couple of important lessons involving our Savior.  The first is that of studying the scriptures and paying attention.  The wise men had seen the star and knew what it meant.  The prophecies of the Savior's birth were throughout all of the scriptures the Jews had.  And yet, the whole Jewish nation missed it.  Just like in our lives, we do not have heavenly messengers coming to deliver spiritual news to us; we usually have to search and prepare and let the Spirit teach us.  Then we have to act on what we have learned. 

The other lesson and, if I were to pick one from the Christmas story so far, the most important.  That is of going home another way.  We all have a past that sometimes haunts us and sometimes excites us.  Regardless, the past is there and we are here.  The wise men give us the great example of what we all must do after having a spiritual experience; we must leave another way, for if we do not, then there was no reason for us in having that experience.  Anytime we come to know the Savior, we should and must change our actions, our thoughts, and our lives.  If not, then we have not given our most precious gift to Him; the gift of self.

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