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The Magi

Today’s Reflection

THE MAGI COME ASKING, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews?” Tradition has it that there were three Magi, probably because the Bible account names three gifts (gold, frankincense, and myrrh). The names used for these Magi are Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, and tradition also says that they are of three different ethnic groups, signifying that Christ comes not just for one nation but for all people. In fact, that is what we celebrate in January at Epiphany: Jesus Christ as the Light of the world. We celebrate Christ as Light to the whole world, not as the Light to one small group in the world.

Many Christians mark Epiphany in only cursory ways, as if everything about Christmas ends at midnight on December 25. We do seem in a hurry sometimes to put away Christmas. … Most of us stop playing Christmas music, too, as if the songs are inappropriate at any other time of the year. …

Commentators have said we seem in a hurry after Christmas to box up once again our patience, our tolerance, our generosity and put them back in the attic, as if we can sustain good behavior for a few weeks but wouldn’t want to risk making it a way of life. We may also put away our willingness to give a bit more, to be more forgiving, even to be more patient in traffic as we often are during the holidays. Perhaps we even box up our desires to hope and our openness to miracles and mystery, as if the messages of the Christmas stories can’t quite survive the rigors of real life in the rest of the year. The Magi call us to continue our observance of Christ’s coming after December is over.

– Mary Lou Redding
WHILE WE WAIT: Living the Questions of Advent

From pages 93-94 of WHILE WE WAIT: Living the Questions of Advent by Mary Lou Redding. Copyright (c) 2002 by Mary Lou Redding. Used with permission of The Upper Room. All Rights Reserved. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

How will you carry Christmas into the year?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

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 2:11, NRSV

This Week: Pray for inner peace. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Simeon Stylites (January 5).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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{ 23 comments… add one }

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling January 6, 2018, 6:09 am

    Although i spent christmas in the hospital visiting my dad, it was brighten up by a few students from a music school singing carols. It reminds me that we can bring christmas into the year by brightening someone’s life wherever we go through our smiles, comforting words, prayers, etc.

    Blessings to all

    • Marcy January 6, 2018, 3:04 pm

      Yes, Mary! What a Christmas we had this year! We took care of each other as Jesus taught us and will trust in Him all the more. Prayers for strength, perseverance and you just being the wonderful you we all know and love, sweet sister Mary! God is with us. Immanuel!

      • Mary Ng Shwu Ling January 6, 2018, 5:15 pm

        Thanks dear Marcy for your encouragement and prayers

        Blessings

  • Jill January 6, 2018, 6:18 am

    What can be my three gifts that I will bring to Jesus and His Father this upcoming year? Certainly – an increased effort in obedience with my relationship with my sister. I can’t expect God to change her, but I can be very expectant of the work of the Holy Spirit in me, transforming my view of her. Increased patience and perseverance as I assist my folks as they continue to age. This must include an awareness of a root of bitterness that can so easily grow towards my sister, and my perception of her (lack of) assistance. A further trust and acceptance of My Father’s Sovereignty in all things, but I am specifically thinking of my diagnosis. I have been so fortunate with the good response of my body to treatment thus far. I saw, the week before Christmas, how stress can be a trigger. So, I must lean ever harder into Him, to manage, surrender my frustrations and to trust Him for merely daily sustenance…His daily allotment of Grace will and does suffice. Keep me short-sighted in this regard, Father.
    So grateful for an hour and a half to escape on a tennis court yesterday. It seemed like “old times” – my doubles partner and I just playing. Something I won’t take for granted ever again. I am hopeful that we will be able to get back to our daily regimen of this in the summer ahead.

    • Marcy January 6, 2018, 3:14 pm

      Jill, I’m praying for the both of us to improve our relationships with our sisters. I’m so happy you had tennis last night and are so joyful in your progress. Please try to stay calm, easier said than done, but the Lord will be our encouragement. Thank you, for all your wise and thoughtful words to us, Jill. God most certainly has gifted you with beautiful prose.

    • Marcy January 6, 2018, 3:15 pm

      Sorry, Jill, also praying for your parents, especially your Dad. Much love to you.

  • Lou January 6, 2018, 7:51 am

    I will carry Christmas into the year by loving more – I just read that by emptying ourselves by giving and loving more we become more ready to receive God-the more we give of ourselves the more room there is for God to enter in. My heart has been hardened by all that has happened in my life recently- I will more tomrid myself of that hardness that I feel I keep to protect myself and I will try my best to let go and let God enter by loving and giving all that I am able. Not just at Christmas – but all year.
    Blessings to all and peace –

    • Marcy January 6, 2018, 3:24 pm

      Lou, my heart was a cold, dead, stone and it took a lot of hard work to bring it back to life. When I started reading the Bible every day, nothing sunk in. Eventually, the Good Shepherd said, “Enough!” Now I overflow with LOVE and it feels like a miracle! The longer the heart is hardened, the longer it takes to heal it. You will do fine, with your children, even though difficult at times currently, and the support you receive through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit leading you to the Word of God. Blessings and Love to you!

  • Betsy January 6, 2018, 8:02 am

    I’m afraid that I’m one of those who rushes to “put away Christmas” too soon. I guess years of teaching, where you had a small window of time off to straighten and clean after the Christmas Break got me into that routine.
    I hope to carry Christmas on by remaining open to God’s wonder and grace in my day to day. Reaching out to others to show his unconditional love.
    Thank you, Lou and Jill, for reminding me that relationships and showing others compassion is Year round, not just during the holidays.

    • Marcy January 6, 2018, 3:43 pm

      Betsy, you sound like I used to be! But you are another example of one who will be able to live Christmas every day. You help those poor women who have been so terribly mistreated in life and have to learn how to just live normally, which is an uphill battle for them. I am praying for you and the women you help and also for Grace as she gets through this first year.

  • Julie January 6, 2018, 8:07 am

    Just before Christmas, I read the book “Wonder”, on which the movie is based. I have not seen the move yet but intend to as the book was excellent. I recommend it to all. It speaks to the same sentiment of being kinder than necessary at all times and in all circumstances. I am trying to remember to live up to this sentiment. It is not easy to remember and I trust God and look to Him for help in this endeavor.
    Prayers and blessings to all

    • Marcy January 6, 2018, 3:37 pm

      Thank you, Julie, for all your prayers. I haven’t heard of “Wonder” but if you recommend it, I just know it’s a goid read. I prefer reading books to seeing the movies, but always read the books first, in any case. I am waiting on an update from my Pastor on Lucy eating or not. I miss her so much! I’m grateful for your love and support, Julie. It means the world to me, because I know all of our caring for each other is of God.

  • Connie January 6, 2018, 9:14 am

    Epiphany….”What shall I give Him, give Him my heart”.
    Jill, I am an only child and I was once told that even if I had siblings, I would probably be the one assisting.
    Lou, your “hardened” heart is your protection for now- it will soften. I used to pray that God would warm my cold heart and He did….in time. “Love transforms everything”.
    Mary, truer words were never spoken, or relayed so sweetly.
    Betsy, I took down the tree right away. But I am still in “Christmas Mode”.
    Julie, your comments about “Wonder” makes me want to read the book or see the movie.

    • Marcy January 6, 2018, 3:46 pm

      Thank you, Connie, for consistently good advice and thoughtful points to ponder. You are a blessing to us all.

      • Connie January 7, 2018, 8:36 am

        As are you!

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling January 6, 2018, 5:18 pm

      Thanks so much dear Connie

      Blessings

      • Connie January 7, 2018, 8:38 am

        Blessings Back!

  • robert moeller January 6, 2018, 11:51 am

    No Christmas tree this year, worried it would make the cat sick. Some decorations nonetheless. Most important for me is the Nativity Scene. I started it in Advent with an empty stable, just a few trees, slowly it came to life and only recently have the magi arrived. I too see the coming of the wise men from the East as a sign that the Messiah came for all people. that there were different races represented. The gifts honor a king and prepare for Good Friday and Easter. There are 12 days of Christmas. They don’t revolve around a partridge in a pear tree or Santa Claus. The remember and celebrate the coming of God with us, Emanuel.

    Helping others has been a life long habit. Hopefully there are more years to be able to do that. Am hopeful that this year end will see me more able to help in ways that are now difficult. I pray I can render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s.

    Wonderful posts from Mary, Jill, Lou, Betsy, Julie, and Connie. There are times when it is good to be of the same mind, one in Christ. Thank you! Blessings as we celebrate Epiphany tomorrow.

    • Marcy January 6, 2018, 4:01 pm

      Yes, Robert, this is also my goal. I want to visit former friends (That’s how I refer to anyone I ever took care of in years as a healthcare associate) before they pass. I’ve lost one on December 11th and he was the youngest. If it is God’s will, I’d like to cook dinner for Lazarus House again and then serve. Spend the night occassionally. Return to being an usher at Church and working to elect men and women who will fight to make healthcare a right.

      Tomorrow I will attend church here at the rehabilitation facility. I’m so excited! It won’t be like my beloved Methodist Church, but that’s not an issue. This will be a non-denominational service. I can’t wait! And on Epiphany too! I’m afraid you shall all have to hear all about it!

      • robert moeller January 6, 2018, 8:43 pm

        Very glad you will be able to go to church. Going helps me a lot, I rejuvenate there. Will be glad to hear all about it.

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling January 6, 2018, 5:20 pm

      Thanks Robert!

      Blessings

  • Marcy January 6, 2018, 2:50 pm

    I typed a post, then lost Internet connection before I could submit, but I am going to type it again. My Christmas didn’t go the way I was so looking forward to. Going to the 7 pm service and celebrating the birth of the Christ Child, singing hymns and carols, experiencing the tremendous gift that God gave us in the true Spirit of His Love for us. Instead, I was hospitalized, so very sick, weak and debilitated. Yet through the Lord’s tender mercies, there were nurses, PCT’S and CNA’S and a gifted dreamer/patient care associate/housekeeper working two jobs, who prayed with me and enabled me to get the devotional support of you, my family, who are my support, along with my Pastors, that I am in so much in need. I love you all, very truly and pray for you all individually every single day. O how love our Abba, Father, God Almighty, Who gave His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior, Teacher, Love Incarnate. O how much I love You, dear, Christ Child, Immanuel, God with us. Then Jesus provided us with the Mighty Counselor, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, leading us to His Word and helping us understand His Word. I remember when I realized that Christmas isn’t just a day, a couple of weeks in December and we could live it every day of our lives and beyond into eternity. It thrills me to my very soul. I remember thinking it strange, hearing Christmas songs occasionally in the Summer in grocery stores. Now I consider it a rare treat. Christmas isn’t just a day or a couple of weeks in the month of December. It is every single day of our lives and beyond into eternity. Lord, show me how to better live Christmas my every waking moment. Oh yes, Almighty God! Epiphany! Jesus Christ as the Light of the world! We celebrate Christ as the Light to the whole world, not as the Light to one small group in the world! Thank you, Mary Lou Redding.

  • Marcy January 6, 2018, 2:59 pm

    Also, last Christmas, I read Ben-Hur. I absolutely loved it and want to purchase a copy for myself. For a fictional work, there is much knowledge to be gained from this wonderful book. Love to each of you, and know that you are all in my prayers, individually and as each other’s advocates and lovers of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

    Andrea, continuous prayers and thoughts for you, Lowell, your daughter, son-in-law and grandson. I care about you deeply and lovingly.

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