Three kings bow before the infant in a manger. The heartwarming image touches our hearts as we open our Christmas cards.
Of course -- there's a lot to the story we don't know.
1. We don't know if they were kings. The Bible says they were "wise men" or "magi".
2. We don't know if there were three of them. Tradition says so, but the only thing we know for sure is that they brought three gifts.
3. We don't know if they showed up at the manger. Again, the Christmas narrative tells us star appeared two years before. Some scholars say that Jesus, then, was two years old when the wise men showed up.
As a sentimentalist, however, I'd like to think that there were three wise men and that the star appeared two years before his birth, so they actually showed up at the manger on that special night along with the shepherds (can't prove it -- but then, nobody can disprove it either, and it sure helps with the logistics of our Christmas pageant)
There's a whole lot we don't know about the magi. We have to use our imaginations to connect the dots and color the pages. However, I do believe I know the prayer these men held in their hearts as they journeyed to Bethlehem. In many ways, it's the same thing I hold in my heart today: a prayer with three parts.
Part One: Where Are You?
Sometimes in life's journey, we face perplexing and difficult circumstances. There are days when the darkness overtakes the light, the sorrow outweighs the joy, and the questions are louder than the answers. We are prone to wonder: "Where are you, God? I'm looking, and I can't find you."
But he Christmas story reminds us that the Christ child is called "Emmanuel" which means, "God WITH us." Even when it seems like he is nowhere to be found. . . he is now here -- right here -- right now. He is with us.
If you have a seeking heart, you will find Christ, because all along, He is seeking you!
Part Two: We've Seen Your Star
If you ask "where are you?" with an open, humble and honest heart, you will find the answer. You will see his star. It may not be exactly what you had pictured. You may not get a shout or a lightning bolt from heaven. Perhaps it will be just a whisper or small glimmer of hope.
Look for the hope glimmer. Look! You will find it. Through the clouds, his star is shining somewhere, and it will guide you home.
"The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious dawn."
Part Three: We Have Come to Worship You
We may never get satisfactory answers to life's darkest questions. We may never understand why bad things happen to good people. But, if we can find it in our hearts to trust God anyway -- to honor him first with our lives, we will be blessed with peace.
Like the wise men, let us bring our gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh:
Gold speaks of Majesty.
"Jesus, you are the King of Life. It will trust you and submit to your will. You are my Guide."
Frankincense speaks of Divinity.
"Jesus, I turn my concerns into prayers. I believe you are good. You are my Helper"
Myrrh speaks of Suffering and Loss.
"Jesus, I give you my griefs and sorrows. I know you are with me. You are my Healer."