Have you ever thought about those first few days for Mary and Joseph?
While no family members are recorded coming to visit this new born baby, some strangers from the nearby field came in to ask if they could worship this little one. They had an incredible tale to tell of an angelic visit that ended with a heavenly host of angels proclaiming “good news of a great joy”. Picture Mary and Joseph staring at this baby wondering if all they had been told could be true when shepherds knock on the barn door hoping to see baby God.
Imagine when they took Jesus, at 40 days old, to the temple to be consecrated to the Lord. Another stranger, this time an old man named Simeon, walked up with an interesting request and an even more interesting statement about this boy. “Mary, Mary may I hold Him? Please may I hold the God of the universe”. With baby God in his arms Simeon declared that the Lord had promised that he would live to see the Messiah and now he could die in peace. He also prophesied that Jesus’ light would reach to the Gentiles and that a sword would pierce Mary’s own soul because of this boy ( a prophecy about her watching Him be crucified).
At some point in the next two years Mary and Joseph were astounded again when wise men from the east came for a visit. Like the shepherds, they had a celestial story to tell, this time not of angels but of a star pointing to a new born king who would be King of all the Kings. Can you picture a two year old running around the house with eastern kings asking if you could hold Him still long enough for them to bow down to worship Him. Did Jesus climb on their backs thinking they were on the ground to wrestle with Him? And what about those gifts? What does a two year old do with gold, frankincense, and myrrh?
Actually those gifts spoke to the legacy of Jesus. Gold is the appropriate gift to bring to honor a king. The wise men recognized who He was. Frankincense indicated Jesus’ mission. He was the One Who would take away the stench our our sin from the nostrils of God. Myrrh would generally be an inappropriate gift were it not for this legacy. Myrrh is a burial fluid and the wise men knew that this King would be taking away our sins through His death.
As we head into the new year, take some time to treasure up and ponder the marvel of God becoming flesh and dwelling among us.
Todd R. Marrah, Ph.D