From the desk of Ms. Kathleen Cook, Director of Religious Education
Theme: The Magi seek out Jesus and do him homage.
Summary: The Gospel speaks of those earnestly seeking the newborn king. Those searching are from outside the nation of Israel, that is the Gentiles. The magi represent the nations of the world seeking the light and are guided by a star. Interestingly, there were those who had already had been chosen and called by God and they felt that they had no need to search for this Messiah. King Herod feared for his throne, though his fear was unwarranted, given that Jesus was to be a different kind of king. There seems to be a truth about human nature and it that we can easily become locked into our own way of thinking and not allow the least bit of new light to enter into our lives. God is ever seeking to allow new light to seep into our lives in order to see God more clearly. The truth is we must make ourselves available to the light and seek unity among others from various nations, races and creeds. This is God’s will: unity.
Scripture: After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, 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 2:1-2
After Jesus was born, some wise men, also called Magi, saw a star in the sky which they believed announced the birth of a king. They traveled to Jerusalem and began to ask, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” Herod heard about the Magi and their search for a king and he was deeply disturbed. He called a meeting of the priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” The priests told Herod that the prophet Micah had written that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem.
So Herod called for private meeting with the wise men and said to 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!”
Reflect: If a word or phrase from the Gospel captures your heart, sit quietly for several minutes, repeating it to yourself and asking God to show you how it applies to your life. Or reflect and possibly journal on the following question: What do I admire about different religions, or what have I learned about God from people in different countries?
Suggested book that compliments today’s Gospel:
Dear Children of the Earth: A Letter from Home
Written by Schim Schimmel
Family Discussion: The tradition of giving gifts at Christmas is thought by some to be rooted in the gift giving of the Magi. In many cultures, gifts are not exchanged at Christmas, but rather on the feast of the Epiphany. Whenever you exchange your Christmas gifts, take some time to reflect on this tradition of gift giving at Christmas. Think of the best gift you have received. What was it? What made it special? Was it the gift itself, the thought that went into it, or the person who gave it to you?
Read today’s Gospel, Matthew 2:1-12. The gifts of the Magi—gold, frankincense, and myrrh—have come to be understood as symbols of Christ’s royalty, divinity, and eventual suffering and death. They are special because in giving them, the Magi acknowledge who Jesus was to be: our Savior. We pray that we will acknowledge Jesus as Savior in all that we do and say. Conclude by singing together “We Three Kings.”