Christmas Letter to the Wise Men
“Wise men asked, ‘Where is He who has been born king of the Jews?
We saw His star and have come to worship Him.’
Herod the king was troubled to hear the news; saying to them,
‘When you find Him, let me know where He is
so I can worship Him with you.’
After leaving Herod, the star that they had
seen when it rose went before them until
it came to rest over the place where
the child was born.
They rejoiced exceedingly with great joy!
They worshiped Him!
Then, opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts,
gold and frankincense and myrrh.
Warned in a dream about Herod, they
did not report back to him.”
Dear Wise Men,
Knowledge is different from wisdom.
Anybody can accumulate knowledge from books, newspapers, libraries, television, movies, schools, workshops, conferences, cyberspace, and countless other catalogues.
I’ll never forget the student who said he didn’t feel he had what it takes to finish a graduate degree. I told him to look at people who have done it before him. I said, “If they can do it,…” He was relieved, encouraged, and completed the courses.
Anybody can get answers to fill in blanks.
Meaning is harder to grasp.
Degrees and diplomas don’t guarantee it.
Graduating from gathering information about someone or something to comprehending someone or something requires wisdom.
It happens when knowing about someone or something matures into knowing them.
Knowledge without wisdom is like Christianity without Jesus by the book – more hollow than holy…style without substance…form without content.
Knowledge is right in front of us. We can grab it for ourselves.
Knowledge, by itself, is like those pieces of paper hung on walls with no purpose other than hanging on walls to prove we’ve got lots of information stored up about someone or something.
It’s useless without wisdom.
Wisdom is knowing what to do with what you know.
Wisdom is mysterious…Spiritual. We can’t get it without God. That’s why we pray for it; asking God to take what we know and employ it.
Knowledge with wisdom is taking what’s been accumulated and doing something with it for God’s sake; and when something’s done for God’s sake, it always ends up benefiting others including the ones who did it.
How too many people have talked about you over the years is pret’ near perfectly illustrative.
They gather facts and details and then don’t know what to do with them.
They dig and dig and dig trying to discover where “from the east” you came from as if it mattered then or matters now to Him who never respected class, color, or culture.
They try to estimate your wealth – people, especially Americans, are into that – because you must have had enough of it to open your treasure chests and give part of it to Him; again, as if money mattered then or matters now to Him who said to get rid of everything that gets in the way of following Him.
They talk about how smart you were; as if He’s ever been into astrology, magic, and the other stuff that would get you kicked out of lots of churches today with more litmus tests for salvation than Jesus ever had.
Annnnnnnd by spending sooooooo much time on all of that knowledge not to mention laboring over those symbolic gifts ad nauseam, too many well-
meaning but misguided folks have missed what made you so notoriously wise.
You looked for Jesus at the Spirit’s leading and worshiped Him as soon as you found Him.
That’s wisdom making the best use of the most important knowledge of all.
People are so easily distracted from what’s really important.
Those gifts come to mind: gold for king as if Jesus ever demanded being treated like royalty at the expense of anyone else and even made a very big deal about serving rather than being served after the example that He set which comes as a big surprise to churches and clergy who are into expensive ornaments and clothes at the expense of the poor; incense for a priest as if Jesus needed anything but Himself to enable holy communion and made a very big deal about religious things getting in the way of direct holy communion with Him by grace through faith; and, finally, myrrh, a gooey substance used to help embalm the bodies of the dead, which probably bothered mom and dad in an Isaiah 53 suffering servant kinda way as a preview of coming attractions.
Come to think of it, except for Jesus, I haven’t ever heard of a mom getting myrrh for a baby shower or baby getting it on her/his birthday.
Of course, this baby was different from every other baby that ever entered time – “Before you were born,” He said of all of us, “I knew you. Then I made you. I knit you together in your mother’s womb!” – which is a good thing because everybody knows salvation had to come from out of this world.
So it wasn’t your money or education or any other accumulation of anything else that made you wise.
It was worshiping Jesus as Lord and Savior that set you and people like you ever since apart as wise.
I remember Dean Adams being asked if it’s possible to be a Christian without worshiping regularly with other Christians. He paused, pondered, and then said, “Well, I guess it’s possible to be a Christian without worshiping regularly with other Christians; but I’ve never met a Christian who didn’t worship regularly with other Christians.”
One more thing.
Matthew says you were “warned in a dream not to return to Herod.”
I remember you asking him for directions to the child; and he pretended that he wanted to know where he could rendez-vous with you to join you in worship.
We know he wasn’t really interested in Him as Lord and Savior; only interested in getting Him out of the way as a rival to his control over people.
Maybe that’s where that “Wise Men Still Seek Him” bumper sticker originated.
When we’re wise, we look for Him alone.
When we’re wise, we’re not distracted by anyone or anything else from who He is and what only He can offer.
When we’re wise, we manage everything that we are and have accumulated over time in ways that honor Him.
We place all of it on an altar of sacrifice before Him; knowing that what we’ve just given up in time can’t be compared to what’s been given to us by Him forever.
Thank you for accepting it from Him to share with us.
Part of the Family
Blessings and Love!