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Tuesday Tidings January 2, 2024

Dearest Members of Bethlehem,


“When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was.” -Matthew 2:9


As we wrap up our celebration of Christmas and look forward to Epiphany I am enjoying the richness of this time of the year, reminding myself that as wonderful as the 12 days of Christmas are, Epiphany is just as worthy of recognition and celebration.


Let’s just think about the richness of the account from the Gospel of Matthew.  In the midst of this glorious story there are two competing forces at work.


First, we have King Herod, he is a questionable character to say the least.  King Herod, like the magi, is seeking Jesus, this new born king.  But, as we know, Herod is seeking Jesus for a different reason.  Herod wants to eliminate a threat to his rule, to his kingdom.  It’s humbling to think that Jesus of Nazareth endured serious persecution from his earliest days.


By contrast, these magi, these “wise men,” or “kings,” as they are sometimes referred to, are seeking the Christ, because of the hope and promise this newborn king is ushering into the world.  And, perhaps, even more enlightening, these magi are seeking Jesus for some more specific reasons as well.  They want to pay the king homage, they want to worship him.  And they are also seeking an audience with Christ, because they have some critically important gifts to share with him.


Now, as we consider the difference between Herod and the magi, we come to a deeper understanding of just how important motivations really are.  Herod’s motivations are entirely self-centered and self-seeking.  Needless to say, Herod is not the exemplar, not the hero of our story.


On the other hand, these “wise men” travel a great distance, risk their own safety, make an enormous investment of time and resources, all because they hope to show their commitment and devotion, not only to Christ, but also to this new kingdom that is taking shape in our midst.


As we begin this new year, we may be making some new resolutions, hoping to turn over some new leaves, and that’s wonderful… but from a spiritual perspective, sometimes the best thing that we can possible do is simply examine our motivations.  Who are we serving?  Who or what is the object of our worship and devotion?  And with whom are we sharing our gifts?  Spend some time with these questions and it may make for a much more meaningful 2024!            


Question for reflection: The wise men were guided by a star, what guides you through your life of discipleship?

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Dan

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