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.” – Matthew 2:1-2
Today’s Advent at the Improv focus comes from this photograph of a camel train.
Wise People Still Seek Jesus:
As a symbol of Advent, I’m always drawn to The Magi. The story we think we know is as much legend as it is scripture, the details are shrouded in mystery, and the characters usually don’t make their appearance until Epiphany. But I like to have the wise guys in mind from the get-go, because – if I listen closely enough – I believe Melchior, Balthazar, and Caspar still have a lot to say.
I love the fact that The Magi took such a long time to find their way to Jesus. I love the intentionality of their journey, the difficulties they encountered, the adventure of their quest. The “wise men from the East” didn’t just bring gold, and frankincense, and myrrh, they brought tenacity, and curiosity, and thoughtfulness, and a willingness to set everything else aside until their souls found satisfaction in Christ.
I can imagine the conversations the travelers had around the camp fire during their journey. I wonder how those conversations shifted once they were on their way back?
There is a lot of noise made in Christianity about salvation, about experiencing the presence of God, about connecting in prayer, about the vividness of our encounters with Christ, about the quality of our interface with the divine. That’s all well and good, but The Magi remind me of the beauty of the search, the value of the journey itself.
Too often I feel as if the message we share is about instantly being there – when there is so much to feed our souls along the way, traveling the path, working out our incremental progress along the road less often traveled by.
I may be an active advocate for men’s ministry, but it’s not just wise men who follow the star, it’s wise people. Women and men, boys and girls, young adults – any who are sage enough, patient enough, thoughtful enough to set their sights on higher things until they catch – sometimes just by chance – a glimpse of a star, an apprehension of the light that ultimately leads them to the feet of Jesus.
So today’s Advent image is The Magi... and that could well be you.
Gallery of Advent feature images, now contains 3:
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.