It would seem nearly fitting to pause and consider the many treats and goodies consumed this time of year. After all, only a week from now, many will feel the remorse over the food consumed this holiday and work ever so diligently to reverse the effects of Christmas over-eating.
However, I am struck this week by a different kind of “delicacy.” One I would simply prefer to let pass by my plate. Leading up to Christmas this year I have eaten my share of “humble pie;” some as a result of uncontrollable circumstances, and several slices as a result of poor decision-making on my part. Either way, it is not the sweet treat that I hope for at Christmastime, a time to reflect upon, and to celebrate, the good news intended to bring joy to all people.
That is why I was so completely struck by the story of Jesus’ birth this Christmas. Consider the account in Matthew 2, as the Magi came before Jesus they bowed before him to worship him.
“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 when it rose and have come to worship him.”
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” (NIV)
The Magi didn’t bow to Jesus out of duty or obligation. It wasn’t uncontrollable circumstances that led them to the humbled stance. Instead, they desired to worship him with adoration and awe!
Some humble Christmas pie this year might just be a good idea for all of us. Let us each consider how we can reverently, and humbly, come before Jesus and worship him this Christmas and throughout the coming year.