WISDOM in our waiting

The third of our reflections written for Advent 2015, focussed on the Magi and WISDOM in our waiting.

Matthew 2:1-12 (NIV)

The Magi visit the Messiah

1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 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. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

6 '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 rulerwho will shepherd my people Israel.’"

7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 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.”

9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Unlike the lowly shepherds, the Magi enter the nativity story as highly regarded wise men. Their journey to the boy Jesus was one characterised by wisdom – from start to finish. Theirs was a pilgrimage to a destination, but more than a destination: a person.

They were waiting for a child, like many approved adopters and foster carers in the UK. The Magi journeyed in hope and expectation of the child to come but were fully immersed in the longing and the wait for him at the same time.

The wisdom of the Magi in their wait for the arrival of Jesus has a lot to teach those who find themselves waiting for the arrival of a child into their hearts and families.

Firstly, the Magi’s wait was not a passive wait. They weren’t standing still, waiting for Jesus to come to them as they were. They were active and ready, like a sprinter coiled in the blocks waiting to burst out at the right time. These wise men were waiting and moving at the same time, taking steps of anticipation and obedience in the midst of desperation and hope.

Secondly, the Magi’s wisdom meant they were prepared for their wait. They knew the scriptures, knew the stars, and knew the land. They had transport and no doubt would have had supplies for their long journey as well. Their preparation meant they had gifts ready, and not just any gifts but significant, meaningful and prophetic gifts, brought to communicate something of the destiny of the child.

Thirdly, the Magi’s wisdom enabled them to react well to the twists, turns and setbacks of their wait for Jesus’ arrival. Their plans had to change in response to their dream and Herod’s reaction, but their conviction about what they were doing and why never did. Wisdom allowed the wise men to cling to the bigger picture of the story – they rooted their hope entirely in what God had said, firstly through the prophet Micah about where the Messiah would be born, and secondly in response to their dream, in which God redirected them home.

Fourthly, the wisdom of the Magi informed who they shared what information with: their initial announcement in Jerusalem about the arrival of this new king nearly led to him being hunted down and killed. Wisdom taught them who to include in the details of the journey, who to share what with. And then at the end of the story, this wisdom – learned in response to their earlier mistake – led them home safely and quietly.

From beginning to end wisdom permeated the Magi’s story as they waited for the arrival of Jesus. Their journey was a pilgrimage that was not self-focussed but child-focussed. But through this focus on the child, they ultimately found themselves transformed: for all their wisdom and status the Magi ultimately found themselves on their knees in humility and worship of Jesus. They were changed.

If you’re a foster carer or an adoptive parent waiting for a match, we are standing with you as you wait. We hope that this reflection helps you to consider what it might look like for you and your family to wait wisely.

This advent, allow the wisdom of the Magi waiting for the arrival of Jesus to shine a light on your situation, and allow Jesus to keep you always child-focussed, because He was, and is, and always will be the meaning through our waiting.

Author:
Home for Good


Date published:
December 2015


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