By the time school begins in January 2015, 2014 and the Christmas programs of just a couple of weeks ago are fleeting memories, while the activities of the school days absorb us right away. I want to take a moment, however, to bring you back to part of the Christmas story—a part that the Orthodox Christian calendar marks on January 6 but which the churches commemorated on Sunday January 4. The Epiphany brings to light the story of the Magi and the Star and the divinity of Christ, a celebration of the royal birth. While we may have moved beyond the Christmas season in our need to get things up and running again, the Epiphany calls us back to the story one more time.
Matthew 2 lays out the story beautifully: Magi from the East, having seen the star, come to Jerusalem looking for the child of royal birth. They encounter a sly and evil king in Herod, who is constantly on the alert for potential Israelite threats to his throne. Herod has the Magi promise to let him know when this King is discovered, so he too can honour him.
The Magi continue their journey now equipped with a final destination based on the prophecies of the Old Testament prophets and the ever-present star overhead. They make their way to Bethlehem, the city of David where they honour the new-born King with gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.
The gospel of Matthew reminds us that we serve a Saviour who is also Christ, the Anointed One, King. The humble birth and birth place usher in the King and His Kingdom. The star attracts the attention of Magi , astrologers from the East who recognize the significance of the birth of a King in the Jewish nation.
Just as that is recognized by the Magi, I want to remind you as you begin this new year of the significance of Christ as King, of His royal birth for us as leaders in Christian schools.
First, as we move into this new year, know that God will supply our every need, without being flippant about the gifts of the Magi. It is soon after the Magi arrive that Herod orders his soldiers to Bethlehem to murder the children under two years of age. No way will he allow this threat to arise to his throne. Our Heavenly Father warns Joseph in a dream, who then heads off to Israel with Mary and Jesus.
How will this poor carpenter provide for his young family?
I am certain that the gifts of the Magi provided what this young family would need. In the words of H.N. Ridderbos “the generous gifts of the Magi undoubtedly came in handy during Joseph’s and Mary’s difficult journey.” Not only does our God provide us with vision for the challenges ahead, he equips us with the provisions necessary.
Second, as the star made the path for the Magi known to them, so does our God make His path clear to us. As we enter each year, we wonder what He has in store for us, and where He will lead us. We can enter 2015 confident that His word is a light unto our paths. Immerse yourselves in God’s word and He will illuminate your path.
Third and perhaps most importantly, go forward confident in the knowledge that Christ is King, that he was born as a King and that in His life he brought about the Kingdom and God. Know that he has now ascended to Heaven, where he remains on the throne as King. That means that His authority remains today … in spite of a world and culture that appears to fight against this, in spite of growing animosity and perceived hatred to all things Christian, He is ruler yet and always. And as King, as ruler, we are reminded that His word is authorative today and that in the paraphrased words of Abraham Kuyper—there is not one inch of creation that is not under the Lordship of Christ.
We live today and enter 2015 with what is proclaimed by the star of Bethlehem and some Magi from the East and from Matthew the evangelist and from the heavens themselves. We are confident because He is King, He is our ruler yet.