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Strength For The Day

The New Year is entered often with resolutions to conform more to a self-set standard you did not attain in the year past; or shall we say in many years past! At least this is a common beginning to the New Year. The spiritual or church year in a new calendar year has begun for many centuries with the observance of Epiphany on January 6. The Western church has primarily utilized this date to commemorate the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus’ home in Bethlehem, possibly around a year after his birth in a stable nearby. “Epiphany means “manifestation or “striking appearance referring to the appearance of God in the flesh, God become man in the person of Jesus Christ, the long promised Messiah. And it is the rising of the star at his birth that drew the Magi from the East to begin their long journey to seek the one they knew to be the King of the Jews, the promised Messiah. Very possibly they were descended from Daniel-taught-Magi from centuries earlier. In any case they are a fascinating fulfillment of the prophecies of Isaiah that Gentiles will come to the Light “that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth. (Isaiah 49) Jesus was the Light, yet what a remarkable fulfillment of prophecy that the light of the star of Jacob would bring Gentiles from so far to see in person the brilliant light of Immanuel, God with us; a Light that would banish darkness.
These Magi were reputed scholars, known for their wisdom as counselors to Kings and Princes. They were students of the sciences, scientists of the skies, investigators of the rational universe. Yet they undertook a long, arduous journey to see and worship a baby. What skeptics they must have stirred up. What mockers took delight in the scorn they heaped on them. What would people say of you were you to tell them you want to pursue a Magi journey in 2012? It was not enough for these “wise men to know of this new born King from a distance. Their comfortable surroundings were not powerful enough enticement to abandon the journey. They must see for themselves. They must see, and touch, and taste, and experience the very presence of this promised One. And whatever it took they were willing to pay the cost. A Magi journey in this day entails a purposeful, costly, and committed search to experience the presence of the King of Kings; to draw nearer and nearer to the Light of the world; to look in His face and retain in your face the Light which radiates from His.
Is there any more significant resolution for 2012 than drawing closer to the Savior; for you know you are not nearly as close as you can be; as you ought to be; as you want to be? Even one such as the Apostle Paul said late in his ministry, “I want to know Christ! (Philippians 3:10) A Magi journey takes time out of your already busy schedule. It necessitates prioritizing. It requires you to spend thoughtful time with Him alone; to see Him as He is. An elderly, beloved disciple, John put it this way, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of Life. (I John 1:1) Such is possible for every believer in his own pursuit of Jesus by the Spirit who lives in you. It is costly; for like the Magi you must give up other things, important things, to pursue the most important. Procrastination only means that 2013 will be here before you know it, and you will be saying, “This year I am going to do it! 2012 is here now, and it may be your only year to begin or take your Magi journey.

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