Now, I want to start this post with two things. One – I realize I’m about 12 hours late in posting. I got home from visiting friends at midnight last night and I was too tired to sit down and write. So today, I will post twice. The second thing I want to acknowledge is that whenever I read the Christmas story, I read it with a certain perspective. I bring to the text the fact that I already know the outcome, I already know the plotpoints before they happen, I have thought about the motives of the character for years now. Just had to put that out there.
Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men,
and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared.
Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child.
And when you find him, come back and tell me
so that I can go and worship him, too!”
Matthew 2:7,8 NLT
I find Herod’s words so striking, knowing what I know about the story. That he would hide behind the word worship, when that was never his intention. Herod was a jealous man and would do his best to kill this newborn Messiah. He did not want anyone to threaten his power.
His words are the same as the wise men, but his intentions are the exact opposite. I had an Old Testament prof in Seminary who would remind us regularly that God cares where our hearts are at. That was probably the single phrase she used most often, and certainly the greatest lesson I took from her class. Herod’s heart is in a completely different place than the wise men.
Today, spend some time thinking about where your heart is at. Are you grumpy at all about Christmas (I started the season there, I admit! But through working on this blog and through the kindness of others, I’ve had a change of heart.)? Are you feeling the stress a little too much? Are you saying you want to worship him, while really making lists about all the other things you need to DO to make Christmas perfect this year?
My prayer is that our hearts would be at the place of the wise men, not of Herod. That we would truly long to encounter this amazing newborn. To spread to others the hope and the peace with which he touches us.