The Door is Still Open!

Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men[a] from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1-2 NLT

Back in my home city, many of us call January 6th, “Russian Christmas” because our precious Orthodox friends celebrate that as the day when the wise men arrived in Bethlehem. A closer reading of the Bible; however, leads us to believe, that it took close to two years for them to make their journey. Though it all began with a star which everyone could see, only a few followed it to come and worship Jesus. Are you looking for Jesus this Christmas? Then let’s check out three things that the wise men did.

“The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask!!” my science teacher often said. Too often we try to appear smarter than everyone else by pretending that we know the answers. Maybe the one thing that made the men in today’s verse wise, is their sense of wonder and willingness to ask. Our search for Jesus, only begins, when we are willing to ask where to find Him and there is no better place to look for directions than the Bible. While at Christmas time it is customary to go looking among manger scenes and shepherds, the Bible says that the best place to find Jesus is at the cross. The wonder of Christmas is not about a sweet cuddly baby, but that God would send His only Son to die for people like you and me. In fact, the angel told Joseph that He was to be named Jesus, because He came to “Save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

But the wise men needed to do more than ask questions. There were many people who saw the star and asked about it, but only the wise men, packed their bags and began the long hard journey. They left behind their familiar, comfortable and safe homes, to search for a king. Faith means coming to Jesus, no matter the cost. Worshipping the baby born in the manger at Bethlehem was not a popular thing to do, in fact the wise men were warned by an angel that they needed to hurry home before King Herod had them arrested. But wise men are willing to keep going no matter the difficulty, because finding Jesus is more than worth anything we suffer along the way.

Last of all the wise men had to knock. When they finally came to Bethlehem, they wouldn’t have just burst into Joseph and Mary’s house. They had to stand outside knocking and waiting for someone to open the door. Can you picture the scene? There is Joseph meeting them outside on the porch, leaning on the doorpost and wondering at the caravan parked outside on the street. There are the wise men, dismounting from their camels, dressed in flowing ornate robes, begging to come in a see their son. Inside, Mary picks up Jesus in her arms as any proud mother would do and she turns with a smile to show them Jesus. One by one the wise men remove their sandals, wash their feet and then bow to the ground and worship. Will we be ready to do the same? Are we prepared to take off our shoes, kneel in His presence and offer our very best in worship? Of course, we cannot pay admission into God’s presence, but no one who truly finds Jesus comes empty handed. We eagerly offer all we have, knowing that He is worthy of so much more than everything we have to give Him. Come with the wise men this Christmas. The door is still standing open today!

Photo by Ksenia Chernaya on Pexels.com

Are You Praying to the Wrong Person? Part V: Wrong Jesus

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. – John 1:1 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! – Galatians 1:8 “Discernment is not knowing the difference […]

Are You Praying to the Wrong Person? Part V: Wrong Jesus

I don’t do a lot of reposting other people’s blogs but I loved my sister Ann’s post so much that I had to share it. She cuts right through the tinsel and sentimentality to the point of why Jesus came and who He truly is. Yes -He came in a manger but He is King of Kings- Lord of Lords and the Word of God who came to give His life for ours. Now that’s the true and wonderful good news the angels told the shepherds of!

Taking Mom Home for Christmas

And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home. John 19:27 NLT

In long term care facilities around the United States, there are at least a million moms and if one of them is yours, you are facing the same scene as John was that day. Mary was no longer young, no longer able to provide for herself. So, as he suffered in His last hour on earth, Jesus turned to John and asked for him to take care of His mother. Today, maybe the best we can do is place our mom in a long-term care facility. In some cases, these mothers no longer have anyone left to care for them. This morning I visited a memory care facility to sing Christmas carols. Most of the 20 or so folks, enjoyed singing a little while we went through the familiar songs. But there was one lady, who sat slumped over in her chair almost right in front of me. On her left leg was a large square bandage with a tinge of red around the edges and though I moved close to her to try and draw her into the music, during our half hour of singing, she never looked up. I tried focusing on the other people in the room, but then I asked myself, “What if this were my mom? John took Mary home to care for her – but Lord, I can’t take this lady home. Please show me what I can do to keep on loving her as she deserves.”

You see, what matters most isn’t about what we can’t do, it’s about the little things we still can. When I was small, my mother would sew together popcorn and cranberries for garlands and sing me Christmas carols. She made cookies and helped me write a letter to Santa. But when she was in the place where this dear lady was this morning, she couldn’t do anything at all. So, I just sat by her side, held her hand and prayed and kissed her. After I had gone home, she slipped into eternity. With my dad, I brought my guitar and sang his favorite hymns until he slipped into the presence of Jesus. We never know how long we have our parents, but let me tell you that today, I have a hundred moms and dads. I have the joy of singing and praying with them. This month we get to share a little Christmas each week. Would you consider getting involved in some outreach this month? Between the shopping, the parties, and decorating the house, take a little time to track down some folks to visit in your community. Consider bringing cards, sing a few songs or maybe buy small gifts. Most facilities have giving trees to help you know what is needed. Even if we wanted to, we couldn’t take these special people home for Christmas, but what we can do is the little things that will bring a little home to their hearts this Christmas, in Jesus’ name!