December 21st, 2022 – Early Wednesday Afternoon
“When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.” ~Matthew 2:10
This is a convicting verse…at least if you are anything like me. How’s that? Well, if you are like me, you have come to know the infinite love and riches of Christ, the grace, mercy, and peace of the Almighty God, and the comfort and counsel of the Holy Spirit; yet, with all that knowing and experience there is often a lingering spirit of discontentment and ungratefulness. This verse convicts that awful joyless attitude and condemns the spirit that underlies it.
Let me explain further: The magi (or wise men, as they are often called) had given up much in their pursuit of the newborn King; in addition to the [potentially] years of time and energy they had invested in the journey and search, they had also spent much in the way of expenses and gifts. Their lives at this point revolved around finding this One whom they had identified as the “King of the Jews”. Cutting to the verse above, they had finally reached the climax and finish to their long and complicated expedition; the star they had been observing had led them exactly to the place where the Child was located. Is it any wonder, then, that their response was exceedingly great joy?
However, think about this for a moment: The magi had given up much in order to pursue the One who had been born King of the Jews; it was not for a pompous and exalted man that they came, but for a Child. Their joy at finding Him was a joy rooted, it seems, in faith; they were not rejoicing in the work of a great and mighty king or in what this Child had already accomplished, but in the hope of what He represented and/or what He was going to do. They rejoiced with exceedingly great joy – even though it was quite possible they would never see the result of this young King’s life (and death).
What about you and I? Do you see now why this verse is convicting? Here we are, living in the reality of what that Child has accomplished (and what it means for all of us), and so often we are overwhelmed, discouraged, and waylaid by the [truly] trivial problems and troubles of this life. Instead of rejoicing always (as we are commanded and equipped to do), we live [often] empty lives of grumbling, complaining, struggle, and worry. Why? Why do we trade in what is and who He is for what is not and who He isn’t?
My dear friends, this is a joyous time of the year when we pause to remember our Savior’s coming; yet, it should not just be a time of year. Jesus Christ, the perfect and only Incarnation, accomplished His Father’s will and ever lives to intercede on behalf of those of us who have turned to Him alone for redemption and salvation. His death has brought us life and His indwelling Spirit continues to sustain us and transform us as we journey in this life. Not only that, but we have unlimited access (in every way) to the King of everything that exists! As we live today awaiting His return, oughtn’t we to be the most joyful, gracious, and thankful people on the face of the earth?
Merry Christmas, my friends! Remember His faithful love and mercy, and give Him the praise He is so worthy to receive! Let us fix our eyes on Him who is the Author and Finisher of our faith as we finish out another year of His grace and look forward to another year of His sovereign rule and reign.