December 23, 2018

Reading Matthew 2: 8-13 (NRSV)

Jesus is born!

Today’s reading reveals different reactions to Jesus.

The wise men see their guiding star stop over the child and they are overwhelmed with joy. They kneel down; they pay homage; they open their treasure chests to offer gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

King Herod tells the wise men he also wants to pay homage to the child. But Herod’s way of paying homage is to get rid of the threat to his throne. He fears that Jesus may indeed be a king, the Messiah; perhaps he is jealous of attention turned away from himself. Herod’s reaction is to lie to the wise men and plot destruction.

Joseph believes Jesus is from God: he follows the angel’s message to take the family to Egypt for refuge. Egypt responds by processing their paperwork quickly to grant them asylum.

It is not enough to believe in the baby Jesus.

The question is, what will we do about our belief? Greet the child with joy? Obey God’s messages? Protect the asylum seekers? Or respond to a potential threat as Herod did?

Let us pray. Loving God, thank you for the Christmas gift of Jesus, born to show us your love in a vulnerable human form. Forgive us when we respond to potential threats with fear, lies, and destruction. Help us to greet your child with joy as the wise men did, obey your messages as Joseph did, and protect the refugees as Egypt did. Amen.

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