LOVE. Advent 4. The Matthew report of Advent, of Advent through the eyes of Joseph, includes the story of the “Magi,” the Wisemen. Three, a number we only use because of the three gifts, probably men, come from the “East,” someplace east of Bethlehem or Judah anyway, to see “the one who has been born king of the Jews.” Matthew’s report not only shows that Joseph was chosen to father Jesus but it also includes us Gentiles, us non-Jews, as significant recipients of the blessing. How many songs and tales have arisen from this scene!
The journey is worth reaching the destination. If it was a camel ride across a hot, sandy desert, for however long, the journey was not easy. As we journey in Advent and through life, the journey is not easy. In Kenya, often the worship leader would start, “Many longed to see today but have not, so let us rejoice,” rejoice in the midst of the challenges of life. Death never arrives at the right time and those of us who journey with the person feel the love that has been felt on the journey. Journeys draw us together in community and we value love. Whom are we journeying with today who has extended love to you?
The journey in found in the context of misunderstanding. The Magi pass through Jerusalem and are interrogated by Herod who calls the priests that reveal that a savior will be born in Bethlehem. None of those characters care enough to go to Bethlehem to check out the Magi’s story. Love calls on our hearts to insert ourselves in the story, in the journey, to invest our lives in what is unfolding and in process. Love involves itself in the mystery of faith. Are we passive bystanders like Herod and the priests or are we active seekers living out our love in the journey?
Yes, love gives and does not take or grab or possess as we talked about yesterday. The Magi brought gifts of love. There was no entrance fee at the stable. One explanation has the “gold” acknowledging the baby’s kingship, the “frankincense” acknowledging his priestly role, and the “myrrh” acknowledging his sacrifice. The gifts were not requested but given from love and unknowingly helped in the escape to Egypt and Jesus’ life as a refugee. I love the Christmas song and the song Little Drummer Boy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRDLsEJYTBU .
The Advent story is coming to a climax this week in the birth of a baby we love without seeing, not truly understanding the cost of that love to us or where that relationship will lead us and for many pondering what we bring to God. What a comfort to know God loves all, even the “foreigner”, and there is no entrance fee to worship him. We bring him our heart and that is good enough. Praise his name! Blessings.