Matthew 2: 3
“When King Herod heard this he was disturbed,
and all Jerusalem with him.”
Magi from the east travel for perhaps two years to Jerusalem, following a star that they believed preceded the birth of a new king of the Jews. “We have come to worship him.” I suppose it would be logical to look for a new king in a palace of a king, perhaps thinking the king has sired a son. Surely Herod would know. Do you hear a shift in the story? The Magi have taken their eyes off the star and are looking to King Herod for direction. This news disturbs Herod and consequently all those lives he touches.
How many stories do we know where the distress of the king reverberates through society. Might we turn on our news right now as we are still struggling in the aftermath of January 6. Dictators have led their armies into wars resulting in the death and ruin of many. The book of Esther hangs on King Xexes unable to sleep, being disturbed and calling for the book of records. Thus begins the downfall of Haman and the salvation of the Jews. I do not believe the Magi intended to cause a problem but loosing focus on their guiding star was fatal for many innocent children and families.
Two questions come to mind from this text. What distracts us from following our goals as we enter 2022? Secondly, how do we handle our frustration when we are disturbed?
My New Year’s resolution to stick to my diet is derailed by a social gathering where people are eating and I want to join in. My resolution to exercise is compromised by a late night or a task deadline. My desire to be more loving in my response to my irritating friend is forgotten in the heat of an incident that touches something dear to me. Yes, we get distracted by power, by wealth, by popularity and by so much more. I have a choice. I can blame myself and give up the goal or I can seek forgiveness and learn from my mistake. The Magi discover that the babe is predicted to be born in Bethlehem and they return to their goal, to worship the new babe. The star reappears.
Herod does not learn but develops a devious plan of asking the Magi to report back when they find out just where the baby is. When he is defeated he uses his power to send soldiers to slaughter innocent children. Anger that does not seek relationship restoration is destructive and impacts and hurts many lives. This year we will make mistakes and we will be disturbed. In the movie “Lion King”, Rafiki the wise sage monkey hits Simba, the young lion over the head with his stick. Simba cries, “Ouch, that hurt.” Rafiki responds, “Yes, But the way I see it, you either learn from it or you run from it.” May we pray for a teachable and forgiving heart in 2022 and may we run to the Lord when we are disturbed. Blessings.