The People You’d Rather Not Invite to Christmas
It won’t be long and the table will be set for Christmas. Yippee, but … well, there’s always one person we’d rather not invite, right?
I’m betting that you can picture that person’s face right now!
They’re difficult or awkward. They rub you the wrong way. And there’s every chance they’ll cause friction on what’s supposed to be a perfect, happy, relaxed family day – Christmas day after all.
So here’s the question – what would God have you do with that person, hmm?
Well, you may not like the answer, but here goes. God actually specialises in inviting the “uninvitables” to Christmas. And it started with the very first CHRISTmas:
The Visit of the Wise Men
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.
Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage. When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road. (Matthew 2:1-12)
The “wise men” were in fact “magi” – astrologers and soothsayers from the East. Sinners.
Astrology, divination and soothsaying were against God’s Law. These were men who stood against everything that God’s people stood for. And just to make things a whole bunch worse, they were from “the East”. A first century Jew knew what that meant!! They were from Babylon.
Had this story taken place in the Land of Israel sometime after the WWII holocaust, they probably would have been Nazi’s from the Third Reich. That’s how bad these guys were to a first century Jew!
And yet … God invited them to worship His Son. That completely does my head in.
Come on, had you been God, would you have invited those guys to CHRISTmas?
Nope. Me neither. But God did. And not only that, how is it that He invited them? What message did He send them?
A Prophet proclaiming “repent”? A scroll containing the Mosaic Law, with a whole bunch of little yellow sticky notes at those bits in the Old Testament that forbade divination, sorcery and astrology?
Nope. None of those.
Instead, to the Astrologers – whose practices God detested – He sent, wait for this …. a star!!!
Do you know what that tells me?
It tells me that whilst God detested their sin, He loved these men so much more than He hated their sin. He loved them so much – these sinners – that He invited them to meet His Son. Just let that sink in for a moment.
Now, what are you going to do this Christmas with that one person that you’d rather not have invited to your CHRISTmas table, hmm??