Star of Wonder, Star of Light.
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to Thy perfect light.
The familiar chorus from We Three Kings makes me wonder how His perfect light can lead us this Christmas season.
Let’s look back and compare how the religious teachers, Herod, and the wise men saw this perfect light. What did they know about Jesus and how did they act on the Light they were given? Both Herod and the Magi use names that reveal they understood the power of the One prophesied to be coming: King of the Jews, Messiah, Ruler. The Magi recognize Him as King of the Jews. When Herod the King and all of Jerusalem are troubled by the wise men’s search, Herod inquires where the Messiah is to be born. The chief priests and scribes answer with a quote from Micah 5:2, revealing that a Ruler will be born in Bethlehem of Judea.
Though Herod, the Magi, the Chief Priests, and scribes all believe the Messiah is someone special, they respond differently. King Herod asks where the Christ is to be found but won’t go five miles to Bethlehem to check it out. He believes enough to fear Him, but not enough to go and see. “All of Jerusalem” doesn’t bother to seek Him either. But the Magi travel a great distance. They give their time, money, and energy. With great joy they follow the star on a journey of faith to seek the King.
The first six words of We Three Kings (of Orient Are) hold three fallacies: they were magi, not kings; their exact number is unknown; and we are not told specifically that they were from the Orient. Nevertheless, these philosophic astrologers came. They knew the prophecy and acted on it. They were wise enough to seek the one true King, and because they sought Him, they would find Him. Later God used them to expand the Christmas story to distant lands as they returned home. And today it reminds us that not only was the good news of the Messiah given to poor, lowly shepherds, but to these wealthy and learned non-Jews. And so, their pursuit of the King is an example for all of us.
This Christmas let’s ask, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?” And together respond, “We see his star in the east and have come to worship him!” (Matt. 2:2) May the perfect Light of Jesus our Messiah and King guide us to seek and worship Him not only during the Christmas season, but all year round.