“Get a friend to tell you your faults, or better still, welcome an enemy who will watch you keenly and sting you savagely. What a blessing such an irritating critic will be to a wise man, what an intolerable nuisance to a fool!” – Charles Spurgeon
At the outlying edge of the nativity story is the journey of the three magi, also known as kings or wise men, and their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh as an act of homage – a public declaration of allegiance to this new king proclaimed in the night sky. They came to show their allegiance to the one they believed was a king of all kings. The magi go first to see if there is an heir born in the palace, inquiring, “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” (Matthew 2.2). But surely their gifts were but a reflection of the heart-warming allegiance to God reflected in their lengthy travels across the desert lands.
The magi as they were overjoyed at the sign of the star, bowed low to worship the young boy Jesus. It seems we show our allegiance to our family and friends much more readily than to the God who created us. We often offer only a token experience of personal worship at our local church. I wonder what would happen in our hearts and lives if we bowed low this Christmastide remembering to give homage to our Creator God who is our Redeemer and King. J.B. Phillips says, “Every time we say, ‘I believe in the Holy Spirit,’ we mean that we believe there is a living God able and willing to enter human personality and change it.” Are we willing for Jesus to change us?
I invite you to ponder with me. To whom or to what are you and I giving homage? I suppose many of us in the Western world struggle with our wealth, and our debt. The story of the magi invites us to reflect on our personal giving to God. Let us bow low before God our Creator. Come, thou long expectant Jesus! Change my heart to be like yours!