By now the presents have been unwrapped, some returned, others already discarded. The gleam and shine of Christmas is slowly dimming. The spirit of joy and peace having been replaced with frustration and strain for many.
And here I am, still sitting in the manger, adoring His story in history. But it’s not history, as we live it and breathe it in daily. We bring back this story of His embodiment of both God and man each year. I still marvel at the manger. I still sing with joy “For yonder breaks, a new and glorious morn.” Today is new, tomorrow will be too.
Yet once the calendar moves beyond December 25th, we pack away His story, the joy of His being with us and we go on about our moments, our days and our weeks until we find ourselves back here in the manger in December once more.
We get back to distraction, to resolutions and work that we allow to define us. We replace the journey of a star with the drudgery of another project or to-do list. We begin anew the things we said would not matter to us during this season. Why does this have to be but a season for us? Why does the marveling at the wonder of God with us, Immanuel, have to end because of a day on a calendar?
The last two days I have come to the story of the wise men. The magi who journeyed across hundreds of miles, after visiting Herod to see this Child, born a Messiah. The same star which heralded the birth to the shepherds, I believe cast a light for the magi to follow for weeks to get to Him. That even the stars could not contain their praise of Him. I love that by the way…
The wise men didn’t arrive the night of His birth, as we often depict in manger scenes. No, their path was long and I imagine often daunting. Yet that star rose before and went ahead of them, much like Christ would do for us. It rested over where He could be found, a newborn of humble beginnings that would be the Savior of us all. Three gifts were brought before Him, gifts many of us could name them long before we ever had a Sunday School lesson. But do we look closely at what they laid before Him?
Gold…to signify His royalty. This Child born of a virgin and laid in a feeding trough at birth.
Frankincense…sweet aromas to please Him. A newborn with new lungs in which to breathe.
Myrrh…annointing oil at death. A Child recently born and just beginning life.
I look at the lives of the magi on that journey…following a brightness which heralded good news through what was a long trip over terrain unknown to them. Guided by something going before them, laying down gifts before Him and bowing before Him in worship, with their treasures laid before Him. Gifts that mean He is royalty, laying their crowns and wealth before Him. Bringing sweet aromas of praise before Him. Knowing they must die to have life in Him.
I see that I too am a magi, a shepherd, the manger. I am all parts of this story of His entry into our lives, and yet I choose to enjoy it only up until December 25th. May His story bear repeating, living and rejoicing in throughout the next 363 days of my life just as He calls us to do through His birth.