Sunday, December 22, 2013

Home for Christmas? 22

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us

Matthew's account of the birth of Christ has no manger in Bethlehem, and no shepherds, but it points just as much to the way the adult Jesus gave a welcome and a home to all who came to him. The "wise men", probably members of the Zorastrian faith of Mesopotamia, were drawn to Jesus from afar. They came from a completely different culture and religion, and yet found that there was room, and a welcome, for them in Jesus' presence. Having given their gifts to him, they go home "by another way". They go back into their own culture and faith, but the implication is that they are changed people, with a larger vision of the love of God than they came with.

Matthew 2.1-12

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’ When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: 
“And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
   are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
   who is to shepherd my people Israel.” 
 Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.’ When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
  • Have there been times when your view of God or of your faith has been challenged? Has it always felt like "home" or has it sometimes felt like a foreign territory, a land where you have felt like an outsider?

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