Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Song 25--We Three Kings

"We Three Kings of Orient Are"

"Star of wonder, star of night..."  There are so many parts of this song that come to mind.  The first thing to jump out is the fact that these three wise man travelled together.   They probably had servants and hanger-ons.  So--think community.  This Christmas-don't travel alone.  If you plan on a physical or spiritual or emotional journey--take a friend.  Personal note--I know the importance of community, but I am not very good at it.

Second thought--they were seeking.  They saw a star, deduced its meaning and followed it.  They wanted to see the King.  They prepared to see the King.  They prepared to worship Him.  They weren't satisfied just knowing about this King, they wanted/needed to go see the King.  I would rather meet a king than just know about a king.  Plus, the person they were seeking was worth the time, money and effort.  Sometimes I seek things that are stupid.  This Christmas I hope to seek a joy that is worth it, not just seek more stuff.

BUT--the thing that I really think about with this song is that the the wise men were anticipators.  (Probably not a word, but let's go with it.)  They didn't just happen to see a star one night and wonder what it meant.  They studied what was available to them so they were ready and knew what the star meant.  When they went on the journey, they were prepared to see the King.  They brought gifts.  They brought hearts open to the King.  I can imagine the conversations on the long journey:  "What will he look like?  Will he be in the palace?  Will we be welcome?  Will we get to see him?"  Or maybe they believed that with this birth, the world would be changed.  They anticipated watching and experiencing history.

These weeks leading up to Christmas are celebrated as Advent in some Christian practices.  It is seen as a time to anticipate and prepare for the coming of Christ as a baby.  There are traditions such as the advent candle and the advent calendar.  Ways to mark the passing of time and build the anticipation. 

I remember one Christmas growing up when times were kind of hard around our house.  We anticipated not having a lot under our tree.  But then, we were blessed by members of our church sharing gifts with us.  I was so excited.  The gifts came wrapped and we gathered around on Christmas Eve when they were delivered.  Mom let us open them that night.  But when we opened them, they were second hand clothes and nothing we wanted or needed.  Today, I can appreciate the desire to help, but back then (as a child) it was very disappointing and disheartening. 

God is not in the business of handing out second hand gifts.  He wants his best for his children.  He expects us to give our best to those in need.  That Christmas has served as a reminder for me to take a part in the various opportunities I have to give this year.  To give something new, fun, useful, wanted.  To give like God calls me to give.  To give in hopes that when that child or family receives the gift, what they anticipated will not even come close to what they have recieved.  That is what God did on Christmas.  The wise men anticipated a new King, but what they and the world got is so much more.

Anticipate, participate and celebrate. 
Be like the wise men in the Book of Matthew.