Pray | Lord, may I consider the posture of my heart this Advent season
King Herod was disturbed when he heard the Magi showed up asking about the one born King of the Jews. It is well documented that he was a paranoid, ruthless man. He killed many including his own sons and a few wives to name just a few of those who suffered death due to his fear of losing the throne.
But also . . . the people of Jerusalem were disturbed.
Read | Matthew 2:3-8
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
Reflect | WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME?
King Herod is easily identified as the one least accepting of the idea that the Messiah had arrived within his jurisdiction. But what caught my eye is that the people of Jerusalem were also disturbed. Herod’s reaction seems unrelatable, but the people of Jerusalem being disturbed has the potential to hit a little closer to home.
There are many reasons this news could be bothersome to all of Jerusalem, one being the fear of a violent response from this deranged king who sensed a challenge. But it’s also thought that this arrival could upset the status quo of their own daily lives.
The arrival of a new ruler — shepherd — king, though expected at some point, possibly left them wondering, “What does this mean to me?” The truth is, Jesus’ arrival whether in Bethlehem, the Jordan River, at dinner, the temple . . . or our hearts is a game changer. He just turns so many things upside down. There’s a new conviction in our spirit, while also leaving us peace (John 14:27). Though called to repent, he leads us not to punishment but refreshing and restoration (Acts 3:19-21). It means the old has gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17), and among so many other things, it means there is always a path to forgiveness and freedom.
In this season of preparation, as we string the lights, attend the gatherings, and find our Christmas socks, may we also look for the star, journey to the manger, bow in awe at who has come, and is to come.
This Advent, what are you doing to create space to consider the majesty and wonder found in the manger?