Looking Back Over Jesus’ Life
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.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.’”
Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. 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. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
When I think back over how the stories of Jesus have prompted me to believe, my mind goes back to the children’s choir at the First United Presbyterian Church in Olney, Illinois. Eaddy Garrett was the volunteer director of that group. Ms. Garrett shared her love for us, and her love for God, by teaching us songs of faith.
One year at Christmas, our children’s choir prepared and performed a musical called “A Swiss Nativity.” From what I recall, there were no props. The drama depended on the imagination of the actors and the audience. The songs told the story. I remember how one song built on the account of the Wise Men and their gifts, as each person who went forward to see the baby Jesus would take a special gift (The lyrics “A farm fresh egg I’m bringing, I’m bringing” are stuck in my brain.) In that musical, I came to believe that I too was invited to give my special gift to God, in thanks for the gift God gave me in Jesus.
Thank you, God, for making the stories of Jesus take root in our hearts at all ages. I pray for those who use the gift of music to tell children and adults alike the good news of what you have done for us in Jesus Christ, our Savior.