Monday, December 22, 2008


How is your nativity set arranged, that is – if you have one. My daughter does. Last Sunday we discussed several Christmas traditions that are not necessarily biblical. Nativity sets fit in that category.

Of course, the Christ child is the centerpiece of the scene. Joseph and Mary would be placed on either side. If angels and a star can be placed above, fine. If not, a light is provided and angels are in the background. Shepherds are just behind the parents, with sheep and the donkey Mary rode in the background.

My daughter’s magi are across the room, with their camels. They were not at the manger the night Christ was born. They arrived in Jerusalem to see Herod later, later enough that the family had moved into a house when they finally arrived.

The manger scene takes place in the second chapter of Luke. The magi are spoken of in the second chapter of Matthew:

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:1-11 KJV)

Three? Or, more? Doesn’t matter. There were three gifts that had great meaning in the life of this child.

Their error in reaching Christ was in defining what Christ would be. They equated Christ with earthly royalty, expecting Him to be born to a position of power.

How many of us still make the error of defining what we expect of Christ instead of searching for what He expects of us?

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? (Matthew 7:11 KJV)

What better gift could there be than Christ for Christmas?

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