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2018-12-12 / Columns

The Paster's Pen

When The Search Ends: Matthew 2:1-12
By Parrish Bridges

The story of the Wise Men in Matthew 2:1-12 is still intriguing for many of us today. Why? Perhaps it is because we admire the dedication of their relentless search for the Christ Child that first Christmas. We often think of life as a journey and do a lot of searching along the way. We may leave home and go off to college. Then we leave college to begin work in search of a life. We may leave one job for another or one city for another in search of a better life. But we are always searching for something in the next place or next stage of life.

When the Wise Men found Jesus, they stopped searching. At long last, they bent their knees to adore the Savior. That is why they are Wise Men—they knew how to embrace TRUTH once they found it. In fact, they were “overwhelmed with joy.” It does not mean everything was suddenly fine for them. They knew life would still be hard. They knew King Herod was still in power, and as the story later reveals, he would conduct a massacre of the children of Bethlehem. However, the Wise Men also knew the story of human life would now end joyfully, and that all of those who try to destroy life will not prevail against the human spirit in making us afraid. Since God chose to be born in such humble circumstances and gave up his life on a despised cross, it reminds us that God can enter into any moment of our life (whether it’s good or bad) that we experience. That’s the message of the gospel story.

This kind of understanding and perspective about life does not give you information alone; it doesn’t even give you protection from all the bad things that can happen in this life. What it gives you is God. In fact, it is likely that is what you have really been searching for all along. The Christmas gift of joy means you can take on life with all of its highs and lows because you have already found the Savior who is always saving. Sometimes Jesus may still the storm. Sometimes he allows the storm to rage and instead, he chooses to still the human heart. Actually, that is enough. It is enough to overwhelm your soul with joy. Once you find and accept the JOY that ONLY God can give, it is then that you can stop searching.

Rev. Parrish Bridges is pastor at Walton United Presbyterian Church; 607-206-8474.

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