Tuesday, December 8

Read Matthew 2:1-2

I hope you are beginning to get the picture that nothing about the birth of Jesus was “normal”! The way He was conceived, the place He was born, the announcement by the angels, and the visit of the shepherds on the night of His birth, were all “supernatural” events. And the fact that they have never been duplicated substantiates their validity and their accuracy in proclaiming Jesus as the one, true, God-sent-Savior of the world.

Around two years after His birth, Jesus received a visit from three Wise Men from the East. They had watched the stars for years, expecting something significant to happen, including a new King for the nation of Israel. On the night Jesus was born, a brightness in the East caught their attention, and they followed it to Jerusalem.

These men were from Persia, which is modern day Iran. They were men of higher learning; the skilled scientists of their day; skilled in philosophy, science, medicine and astrology. They were the ministers and advisors to their Persian rulers. Even though it is said the wise men came “seeking the King of the Jews”, it was God who put that bright star in the sky and that hunger in their heart for the truth about God.

Perhaps it would be good just to let one of the great Christmas Hymns fill in the blanks for us today. “We Three Kings of Orient Are”, was written by John Henry Hopkins, Jr., in 1871. Hopkins was a son of pioneer parents from Ireland and Germany.  After graduating from the University of Vermont in 1839, he tutored the students of a family in Savannah, Georgia. He later returned to Vermont and graduated from General Theological Seminary, where he served as their first instructor of church music.

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We three kings of Orient are; bearing gifts we traverse afar, field and fountain, moor and mountain, following yonder star.

Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain, gold I bring to crown Him again, King forever, ceasing never, over us all to reign.

Frankincense to offer have I, incense owns a Deity nigh;  prayer and praising, voices raising, worshiping God on high.

Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume breathes a life of gathering gloom; sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying, sealed in the stone-cold tomb.

Glorious now behold Him arise; King and God and Sacrifice; Alleluia, Alleluia, sounds through the earth and skies.

 Star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright, westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light.