Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Today’s text

Matthew 2:1-6, 9-11

After Jesus had been born at Bethlehem in Judaea during the reign of King Herod, suddenly some wise men came to Jerusalem from the east asking, 'Where is the infant king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage.' …Having listened to what the king had to say, they set out. And suddenly the star they had seen rising went forward and halted over the place where the child was. The sight of the star filled them with delight, and going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and falling to their knees they did him homage. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.


I wish I had been with the wise men. I wish I had followed that star. I wish I had traveled long days beside them and felt what was in their hearts--the uncertainty and longing, the hope and the anticipation of the unknown.

 I would have joined them in their blessed and holy search to witness this unique moment of time when heaven laid in a manger.

Walking with them into the humble stable, I would have knelt beside them and kissed the dirt at the place where the favor of God stooped to touch the crying needs of human hearts.

To kneel before the child would have brought the greatest joy and treasure of all, far greater than any treasures the wise men carried on their journey in search of heaven’s face.

For there, kneeling in the dirt, I would know the soul of the universe and the truest desire of my soul to dwell in the presence of the One who is all beauty and wonder, all love and peace.

But the ecstasy of this moment of splendid knowing is not so far away in time or space. I have knelt before him many times and places, at elaborate gilt altars and in thatched churches under crystal blue skies where grace found me.

In days of traveling far from home, I knelt in the dust of foreign lands and literally kissed the ground of places where the Christ became more real to me than ever before because of the loving struggle of peoples to live and give life amid immense tragedy and hatred.

There are those near at hand at whose feet I would kneel because of the presence of Christ so clearly in them, but they would think it odd to be so honored.

I kneel, too, some days in this holy place lit by a candle before putting my hands on these keys.

It is my Bethlehem, holy ground where heaven and earth meet. On precious days, like today, the Soul of the Universe chooses to be laid in the straw of my words that I might see and feel him … and be made alive.

It is then that I know the hearts of the wise men who followed the star. But I also know that I suffer no loss because 20 centuries separate me from their journey.

For the manger is not far away, nor is it long ago. The place of kneeling in joy before the Christ is close at hand.

The Holy One, the face of heaven, lies in the flesh of those who receive and love him. Our flesh and these poor words are the straw in which he lies. We are the manger; he is the treasure.

No words can express sufficient gratitude for this blessing

Pr. David L. Miller

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