It was on the cold morning of Friday 25th December, 2009 when I woke up in a community where I had been awhile for ministry activities. I was new to this community and never knew what Christmas was like or meant to them here. I had woken up that morning as early as when it was still dark only to hear sounds, not of some strange spirits, but of pots, spoons and other kitchen utensils. When I looked through the window, I saw some women with lanterns trying to fix things for the celebration. They’ve been on these same preparations for days and today’s the ‘D day’ and I thought “oh it’s Christmas again”.
“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” Matthew 2:1, 2, 11.
I know a lot of things have been said about the wise men from the east (both positive and negative things) who came to see and worship Jesus at His birth. So many things have been said about who they were and what they represented by virtue of what they did and what they were known for at the time of the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem of Judaea many years ago and all of that. They were also known as ‘magi’ or ‘magos’ in the Greek meaning ‘of foreign origin’. In Hebrew it means ‘oriental scientist’ by implication magicians: sorcerers, wise men. But here’s the point: If the Author of the Scriptures – The Holy Spirit – finds it a thing of worth to include their story and pattern of celebration, I think it is also worthwhile for us to examine them closely and learn from them. Their pattern of celebration was not a ‘spiritual gift’ exclusive to them, it was just common sense! People celebrate foolishly because they don’t use common sense. There is no place for purposeless celebration in Christianity. Why waste time and energy?
Searching for the King
The first thing the wise men did was to search for the King. Salvation for the soul is the core of Christmas – knowing the Celebrant personally. They went in searched for the new-born King. Finding the King should be the number one priority at Christmas. This speaks of salvation from sin – knowing Jesus as your Saviour. Matthew 1:21 says “…and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” When we find the King, we find salvation from sin and the oppression of the devil. Finding the King means finding freedom and all that the King offers. Finding the King also means find a new Lord over your life. It means Jesus will become the new Lord of your life. You’re now free from the old lord – the devil – who put you in bondage and fear. This new Lord will now take you by the hand and lead you into the new place of rest, peace and tranquillity. The Lordship of Jesus means salvation for your spirit, soundness for your soul and health and healing for your body. It means wholeness. The old life of sin is past away and the new life of righteousness has taken over. It’s now a life of purpose. Your divine purpose can now be actualized. If you’re already saved, then it’s the time to celebrate your blood-bought salvation. Are you born again? Have you found the King and Saviour? How can you celebrate who you don’t know?
The Second thing they did was to worship the King. They didn’t sing some cool songs or hop all over the place. It’s good if we do that anyway. But their worship was based on the conditioning of their hearts. Their hearts were conditioned and ready to do His biddings. Their worship started from believing that Jesus Christ was the Messiah. Faith is of the heart not the head. I tell you, they must have believed that Jesus was the Christ of God. Remember they were wise men; they couldn’t have just come to worship a helpless and unknown babe. They had better things to do than that. They knew this was that holy, prophetic babe of Jehovah! Does God have your heart? Who has it?
They presented valuable gifts
The third thing they did was to present valuable gifts to Him. Value means different things to different people. Get a hundred people together and ask them what their definition of value is, you’re sure to get about a hundred different definitions of value. Everybody has his own definition of value based on his uniqueness. To give someone a valuable gift, you must study what’s his or her definition of value – what is valuable to him. From Scripture, we see that the salvation of souls is the most valuable thing to God as long as this earth remains – soul winning! We all have at one time or the other received gifts we didn’t really value, not because of their monetary value but we simply couldn’t just relate to those gifts in any way. Of course we expressed our gratitude for the kind gesture but we didn’t just need the gift. It is just like reading a book that means nothing to you – no one wants to spend his or her time doing that. It is important to understand what value really is to a person before presenting a gift. This season, let Jesus give value to a life through you. Win the lost this season and always! It is a gift of value to the Lord, for that’s why He came. Is what you’ve been giving to the Lord of any value to Him?
With this, Christmas is more than an event. Your life becomes a lifestyle of celebration when these things are practiced not only on Christmas days but every single day of your life on planet earth! Remember that He whose first coming we celebrate, has a second coming but no longer as a baby born in a manger but as the King of kings and Lord of lords. And also remember that He has given us a mandate to take His glorious life-giving Gospel to the ends of the earth (Mark 16:15-20). May He find you doing so when He comes. His last words before He departed the earth are found in Acts 1:8 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” So what will you do with this?