This is an Advent devotional I wrote for Peachtree Road UMC’s Advent season devotional booklet Veiled in Flesh.
Do you remember listening to stories about the Magi’s visit to Jesus when you were a child? The star, the journey, and the gifts of these men were the main focal points of this story celebrating the Christ child’s birth.
Take a moment today and read this story in the Gospel of Matthew once again. You can read the text here: Matthew 2:1-12
Certainly, the Magi are seen following a star with treasures of gold, incense, and myrrh packed away, but there is a whole subplot to this story that we often overlook.
Matthew tells us that Herod is disturbed that the King of the Jews is rumored to have been born near Jerusalem, and he calls the travelling Magi together for a meeting. Here, he gathers details about their journey and tells them to report back once they find the child so that he may go and “worship” him as well. The Magi do find Jesus and rejoice as they give him great gifts, yet soon after they are warned in a dream not to go back to Herod. The Magi might not have understood this warning at the time, but we are able to see God’s hand at work as it stifled Herod’s plan to kill Jesus.
Our journey this season has been similar to that of the Magi. We have been traveling towards the day that we celebrate God dwelling in this world with much excitement, and the day is almost near. As the Magi encountered and overcame obstacles in their last leg, let us also be open to the ways God may make us aware of and help us overcome obstacles – people, attitudes, malls, stress, and more – which seek to thwart His mission. Let us take a route free of distractions and full of joy as we prepare to encounter God in the flesh — the light and salvation of the world.