"Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, 'Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.'" -- Matthew 2:1b-2
I awoke very early on Christmas morning, sleepless and frustrated knowing that I needed a good night's rest before preparing a traditional Christmas dinner for family and friends. Yet I couldn't go back to sleep. Never one to waste a minute, I had my quiet time earlier than usual and began contemplating questions from the second chapter of Matthew, where the familiar story of the Magi's visit is told.
As I read the story this time, I read it with a fresh set of eyes and heart hungry for deeper insight. Although the Magi of old had asked for the geographical location of the newborn King, if one were to ask "Where is he?" today the answer would be quite different. Jesus, though born in the stable on that first Christmas, resides today in the hearts of his followers. We see his attributes in the lives of those who know his Word and live in obedience to all he has taught us in Scripture. His glory is evident in those who maintain a spirit of joy despite the troubles they face, who exhibit peace in the midst of chaos and turmoil. His character is evident in the mercy they show to others, their willingness to serve, and their generosity in giving to those in need. They speak as ones who have authority (Matthew 7:29) because they know the Living Word and walk in the power of his Holy Spirit.
When Herod asked the chief priests and teachers of the law where the Christ was to be born (v. 4), they replied, "in Bethlehem in Judea." Yet Jesus desires to be born in the hearts of those who do not yet know him. His dwelling place was never meant to be a manger in a filthy stable or a house in Bethlehem, but rather the hearts of men. We are told in Scripture we ourselves are God's temple and that his Holy Spirit dwells in us (1 Corinthians 3:16).
When Herod heard that the Magi had come to worship the newborn King, he sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him" (Matthew 2:8). We know from Scripture that Herod's intent was not to worship him, but rather to destroy the Christ child. But Christ desires our worship. If someone were to make a careful search of our lives, would they find Christ in us? How will others know and worship the One who was born in a manger all those years ago if they cannot find him in the lives of those who profess to believe him?
Where is he? Do you see Christ in the lives of people you know? Do they see Christ in you? If you have not yet made your heart Christ's dwelling place, I pray that you will let this be the Christmas he is born in you.
Joy to the world! The Lord has come.
Let earth receive her King.
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing, and heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing. -- Isaac Watts (1674-1748)