Monday, December 6, 2021

          At our live nativity scene on Saturday night, a number of people noticed the bright and compelling star in the sky that seemed to be directly centered over the scene itself.  Whether it was a star or planet is hard for me to say.  But it was the brightest light in the sky at that moment in time.  Some of our participants even captured pictures of it.  This star was a beautiful and completely unexpected and unscripted addition to our efforts to retell the Christmas story.  But God often breaks into our lives in unexpected and unscripted ways.  This recent star reminds us of the original Christmas star that guided wise men on their visit to Jesus.  These magi were probably busy doing wise-men-kinds-of-things when suddenly a star captured their sights and their imagination.  They knew immediately what they had to do.  Matthew records their experience in this way, “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’”
            When God entered into the lives of these wise men, they did three things.  First, they followed God’s leadership.  They knew the Lord had done something amazing and they wanted to be a part of it.  They put aside their usual work and activities and pursued what the Lord had for them to see.  Second, they came to worship Jesus.  They knew a king had been born.  And not just any king—but the King of kings.  The young Jesus deserved the greatest worship and honor they could offer to Him.  Third, they responded immediately.  Their journey to Jesus would have taken some time to complete.  But they acted in haste and urgency and went quickly into the presence of Jesus.  They did not delay.
            One lesson we can learn from these wise men (and the star from this past Saturday) is to be attentive to where God breaks into our lives and calls us for His purposes.  He often shakes us from routines, norms and the commonplace so we can grow in our relationship with Him.  The Lord may never take you on a journey across southern Asia and into the Middle East but He may have new places for you to go and new things for you to do.  As we give gifts this Christmas season, it may be true that God has some gifts for you.  We often have to look, listen and lean into the Lord to see and experience these gifts that He has for us.  But just as the wise men discovered, there are blessings and joys that are to be found at the end of any journey. 
            Matthew’s perspective on the Christmas story is not read as often as Luke’s more familiar story.  Yet, Matthew 1:18-2:23 can be a compelling message for us to consider as we see all that the Father did to ensure that His Son would fulfill the prophecies of long ago and satisfy the longings of human hearts.  Pay attention to any nudging that the Lord may bring your way.  Look for places where the Lord just might be at work.  Be quick and diligent to share the Christmas story when the Lord opens doors for you.  We are moving into the heart of our Christmas season and there will be plenty of ways and places that you can invite others to engage with the Christmas story.  On Sunday, we spoke about ways that we can point others to Jesus just as John the Baptist did.  Today, we think of ways that the Lord might be pointing us to Him.  It could be that a starry night, a beautiful sunset, a Christmas carol or time spent with a close friend captures your heart in a special way.  These wise men were blessed when they followed the star that God gave them.  And we are blessed when we seek the Lord through the signs and wonders He offers to us.
            Remember to share our worship with others at youtube.com/FirstBaptistKannapolis.  Think of folks you could invite to our Christmas musical this coming Sunday, December 12 at 7:00pm.  Remember we are still receiving grocery donations for our adopted families through December 15.  And remember to end the year strong by giving your tithes and offerings to support our church’s work.  We are also receiving our two special missions offerings throughout December—the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and the Global Missions Offering.  Have a great Monday!          

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