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2020 Advent Devotional – Day 23

Worship

Matthew 2: 1–12

When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. (Matthew 2:10-11a)

Video: Matthew 2: 1–12


Reflection

We can all likely recall the feeling of relief that comes as you reach the end of a long journey. Perhaps it’s associated with the ache of stretching your legs as you unfold yourself from the car, or the invigorating first breath of outdoor air when you emerge from an airport. We’re here – the travelling, the limbo, the waiting is over.

Of course, the longer the journey, the greater the relief, and so the feelings that overcame the wise men when they saw that the star had stopped must have been immense. Not just the completion of their journey but fulfilment too. Confirmation that their uncertain venturing into the unknown had a destination, and that they had reached it.

No wonder they were overjoyed. The weariness of the days and nights of travelling were at an end. The doubt and anxiety that their unsuccessful foray into Jerusalem must have provoked could be put to rest. They were here. All that mattered now was the present moment and the king they had come to see.

“And they bowed down and worshipped him.” The simplicity of the phrase belies not just the incongruity of a caravan of adults prostrate before a young child, but also the depth of what that moment meant. In their joy at arriving, and through this physical act of veneration, the magi dedicate their journey to God’s purpose in the world and honour him with their commitment and faith.

The magi’s worship then can be used as a model for our lives. As we worship God in our services and songs, can we leave behind our weariness and anxiety and centre ourselves in the present moment to bring our whole selves to honour God. As we worship God in our service and our lives, can we dedicate our journey in the world to God’s purpose, living and worshipping with commitment and faith.


Compelling God,
You lead me forward each day, guiding me with your word. You encourage me onwards each day, strengthening me with your love. You watch over me each day, comforting me with your peace. Thank you for the purpose your love brings to my life. Pull me closer to you and renew my commitment to your way. Help me to see on my journey opportunities to reach out in love and faith. Amen.


Reading

Matthew 2: 1–12

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 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.”

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

“‘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 ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’ ”

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

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. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.


If you’re enjoying the carols each day, there’s now a YouTube playlist you can listen to that contains all the carols shared so far. The playlist will grow as the devotional series progresses, with each day’s carol being added. By Christmas Day, you’ll have the perfect soundtrack of worship and praise.  Click here to listen.


Thank you for joining us on this prayerful path through Advent.
Blessings and best wishes for 2021.