Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Adoration of the Magi: Celebrating 'Heilige Drei Könige'

Adoration of the Magi By Leonardo da Vinci 
Today Baden-Württemberg Celebrates Heilige Drei Könige. It is a day in the Catholic Liturgy that is celebrated on January 6th. They celebrate the day that the baby Jesus was visited by the Magi from the east. At first I thought this might be a bit odd to celebrate the day three wise men came, Like we ought to revere or worship them, but then I thought about it. It is totally appropriate that we just remember these men who made a huge sacrifice probably travelling for up to two years to make their way to Jesus in Judea. What did they say when they arrived in Israel? we read in Matthew 2:1-2 "Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to WORSHIP him.” How did they worship Him when they finally met Him? They brought him precious gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. These were very costly gifts, and probably were what sustained Jesus, Mary and Joseph while they lived in Egypt to escape the wrath of Herod. I find it very interesting that they said, "We saw His star and have come to worship him." Notice they did not say that, "we saw a star written about him in the prophecy" or, "we saw a star that showed us the way", but rather, "We saw His star." The star that belongs to him. The star that God had appointed to shine brighter at His birth. The star that is and was from Him, for Him, and could not help but to shine brighter at his birth. He was after all the creator of the heavens and the earth (Colossians  1:15-17).
Procession of the Magi Basilica Sant' Apollinaire Nuovo 5th Cent.

This brings me to the reason that I write today. It is not about the Three Kings, Wise Men, Magi, or whatever you want to call them. It is about worship and what these men knew to do. They had only three things, A Star, A Prophecy, and Insight (lets call it Spiritual Wisdom), oh and some camels. They knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this new baby that was to be born would be the "King of the Jews", and so they dropped their lives for several years (to travel there and back again might have taken up to 4 years) to worship that newborn king. Like these men they brought a sacrifice of worship, and we should also daily "come to WORSHIP Him" So this holiday is perfectly appropriate so that we can also remember men who sacrificed a lot to come and worship the one who was born King of the Jews. Here is a pretty accurate depiction of what it might have been like (although I think they visited Jesus maybe a couple years after his birth. Nonetheless this is a very nice dramatic portrayal of the nativity). It might help us also come near to the one who was born King of the Jews.

So take time today and worship with your gift of Gold for the King of Kings (Revelation 19:16), and with Frankincense worship the Great High Priest who makes intercession for us (Hebrews 4:14-16), and with your offering of Myrrh worship Him for His precious sacrifice in which you were buried with Christ, but raised like him to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4 Colossians 2:12). This is a nice rendition also of the famous hymn "We Three Kings." Blessings as you come closer, like the Three Kings did, to the true and majestic King of Kings, High Priest, and perfect sacrificial Lamb of God.
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