As I begin my Christmas preparations I always like to read Matthew 2:1-12.
This is the part of the Christmas story that talks about the wise men who followed the star.
you have read that before right?
I had too, but I had missed something – something pretty important.
What I had missed was one simple, little word, and this one little word taught me SO MUCH!
Go and get your Bible and take a look – Read Matthew 2:1-12.
The one little word that taught me so much appears in the middle of verse 11.
In verse 11 we see what the Magi (or wise men) did when they first saw Jesus…
“And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him.”
Matthew 2:11a ESV
Next, at the beginning of the very next sentence, you will find the one little word I was talking about. It is the word “then.” It was there all along, but I had skimmed over it before, and missed it’s profound message.
“Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”
Matthew 2:11b ESV
First, they worshiped Jesus and THEN they offered Him gifts.
We clearly see in verse 2 that worshiping Jesus was the chief reason for their visit.
“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.” Matthew 2:2 ESV
They say nothing about bringing Him gifts.
“Opening their treasures”
a natural response
of their worship.
Isn’t it so easy to get that backwards? It can be all too easy to get buried in all the details and doing and end up loosing sight of the reason behind it all.
If we are following the wise example the Magi give us, everything involved in our Christmas celebration, whether it is giving gifts, sending out cards, putting up decorations…will simply come out of a heart response of our primary purpose – worshiping Jesus Christ.