“Day of the Kings”

The Upper Room devotional reflection for Thursday, January 6, 2022 comes to us from Douglas Wingert of Arizona.

1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 6 “ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’ ” 7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” 9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Matthew 2:1-12 NIV
 

“Day of the Kings”

On January 6 of each year, many of my neighbors across the border in Mexico celebrate “Dia de los Reyes,” or “Day of the kings”. This holiday is a celebration of the faithfulness of the magi and of the generous gifts they brought to the Christ child.

But who were these magi who were searching for the King of the Jews? Were they really kings or royalty from other kingdoms? Were they astrologers or nomads? Were there only three? Did they travel with a caravan for safety? And why is it that Matthew is the only one of the Gospels to tell this story of faith and hope?


What is clear to me is the deep faith of the magi, who were willing to leave their homes and travel far, believing the truth of a prophecy and following a moving star. When the star finally led them to Bethlehem, they humbly presented their gifts and worshiped the child, the promised Messiah. So whether we celebrate January 6th as the ending of the 12 days of Christmas, or in recognition of the journey of the magi, or as Epiphany – the revealing of Christ’s birth to the world – it is a special time to celebrate faith, love, and hope in the promises of God.

 

Friends –

I am fond of reminding folks that, unlike the famous hymn, the scripture doesn’t say how many magi made the journey, only that there were three gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. This famous story has been interpreted often and scholars have speculated about the various possible ways that these sojourners could have made their way to Bethlehem and how long the journey lasted. It seems to me that whatever approach we accept, the message is clear. God’s salvation for our world is as simple, yet profound, as the birth of this baby. All that is required is for us to follow in his humble, peaceful, generous ways.

--Pastor bea

 
Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift the magi gave to us – their story of faith. Strengthen our faith so that we also are willing to journey into the unknown to seek our Savior. In his name we pray. Amen.

--Doug Wingert


Prayer Focus:

The people of Mexico


Thought for the Day:

Today I will be bold in seeking Christ Jesus.