BY REV. PERRY AALGAARD - FIRST LUTHERAN CHURCH IN MILFORD
The magi, who were the basis for the song "We Three Kings," are a bit of a mystery as to who they were and why they were interested in the new Jewish king. From scripture, in Matthew chapter 2, we know four things.
They were wise men or magi, they were searching for a baby who would be king, they saw signs about this baby in the heavens and they went to Bethlehem to pay homage to this new king.
It seems the song in labeling the magi as kings did not get it right. The travelers from the East were most likely astrologers, star gazers who used the lights in the night sky to give them guidance. There is some indication the magi could have been a part of a community of wisdom seekers who, among their vast knowledge, knew astronomy and ancient writings.
The magi were well aware of the normal patterns of the sky and suddenly, when a new light showed up in the sky, they studied the ancient texts for possible explanations. What they could have found were prophecies from the books of Numbers and Daniel which spoke of a messiah to come to Israel. They followed the light to find the child — the messiah. The light they followed directed them where they needed to go to find what they were seeking. They were seeking a messiah who would change the world. When they found the messiah, Jesus, they were overwhelmed with joy.
Jesus is called the light of the world. He came into this world as a baby born in a humble manger, a servant king, who cared about the struggles of others. The wise men long ago sought to find the messiah king who would forever change the world. Today, we also need to seek Jesus.
We need to seek him for the salvation he brings to all who believe, but we can also seek him to find the joy we desperately crave. We will not find this joy in the earthly acquisitions we are enticed to seek. We will find joy in how we live out our lives.
Jesus taught how to forgive and move on from hurts. He taught about giving thanks and sharing the blessings God has entrusted to each of us. Jesus taught about caring for others and serving those who are having a bad day. We are called to seek and follow the light of Christ, seeking the places where the Savior, Jesus Christ, is active and join with God in making a difference.
I hope this New Year will bring you joy. May joy come as you follow the light of our savior, who will guide you to places to serve, to forgive the hurts in your life and to be thankful for all the blessings in your life whether big or small.