[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=christmas+star&iid=5280526″ src=”1/5/b/a/Wiseman_With_a_d609.jpg?adImageId=8373382&imageId=5280526″ width=”234″ height=”319″ /]Listening to some of the Christmas narrative this week, I began to notice how many times the gospels refer to people who are searching for the baby Jesus. The shepherds, the Magi, Herod and his death squads, Simeon, and Anna are all people who are looking for the baby King. Later in life, Jesus would say things like, “Seek and you shall find” or “Seek first the kingdom.” I used to wonder why Jesus would say this especially when people all over the world seem to be searching for God and yet fail to find him. This week, I realized that it’s not a matter of Jesus word being ineffective. The problem is that people are not actually searching for the true God; they are searching for their idols.
Christmas shopping is a frustrating experience for me. I have a problem in big stores like Target or Walmart. I am unable to focus and tune out all the visual stimulus coming at me. I start to look at every single item in the store. I get distracted from intended goal of finding a gift for my wife, and I find myself looking at Lego sets, cheap DVDs, paper products, hardware, kitchen gadgets, etc. We humans are so easily distracted from seeking true worship and we end up chasing our idols.
Here’s a great text from Hosea 10:12-13 that sums it up:
Sow for yourselves righteousness,
reap the fruit of unfailing love,
and break up your unplowed ground;
for it is time to seek the LORD,
until he comes
and showers righteousness on you.
But you have planted wickedness,
you have reaped evil,
you have eaten the fruit of deception.
Because you have depended on your own strength
and on your many warriors,
If we seek righteousness, mercy, and justice, then like the Magi, the light of God’s Word will lead us directly to Jesus and the gospel. If we seek oppression, power, and success, then like Herod we will chase our own tail and end up destroying lives around us.
Praise God that it’s a gift of grace that we will put away our idols and seek justice and mercy. That’s what Christmas is all about. Jesus came to earth to make himself known when we, all humans, were enemies of God. The people walking in darkness (blind, lost, distracted, chasing idols) have seen a great light. Like a star in the east or a heavenly host of angels, the light of God’s gracious gospel breaks out in our hearts as a glorious gift.