‘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. 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.’ (Matthew 2:1-2,11)
There is a saying, often seen on bumper stickers, the notice boards of churches or indeed at this time of year on banners or ‘wayside pulpits outside the churches.’ The words? ‘Wise men still seek him.’ So forgive the gender specific nature of the quote, but of course, it is perfectly true, for there are many men and women today, just as there has always been, who still search in vain to find faith. It’s not that they don’t want to believe – quite the opposite – but there is so much in the world they cannot make sense of, so much which seems to contradict the God of love preached in the Christian faith. Our news bulletins and our personal experiences give testimony to the fact that what is so often preached seems to be falling on deaf ears. It seems almost daily I find myself throwing up my hands in disbelief at the actions of one group or another whose intentions seem to be to do harm rather than good. There are even times when I find myself thinking or even very occasionally saying, “I give up.”
It would have been easy for the wise men or magi to have given up on their search, especially when they reached Bethlehem to find that no one had any idea who or what they were talking about. Could there have been a mistake? Had their journey been a complete waste of time? Yet they continued searching and trusting until, finally, they came to the place where the child lay.
We too will reach our destination if we have the courage to keep seeking. If we persevere on the journey, we will find our questions answered and the confusion resolved as we glimpse for ourselves the wonder of God revealed in Christ. St Paul reminds us in his letter to the church in Corinth, ‘now we see in a glass darkly, then we shall see face to face; now I see only in part, but then I will fully know just as I am fully known.’ (1 Cor. 13:12)
Have you allowed obstacles of doubt and disappointment to impede your journey of faith? Is it time to commit yourself afresh to the path of Christian discipleship?
Perhaps this could be your prayer this week?
Lord Jesus Christ, you have told us to seek and we shall find. Yet that search is not always easy. As I look for meaning in my life, there is so much that puzzles and perplexes. The more I discover, the more I realize how little I have understood. Give me the determination of the wise men of old, to keep on looking, despite all that obscures you, until at last I find my perseverance, rewarded and I glimpse your glory and kneel before you in joyful worship. Amen