“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.’”Matthew 2:1-3
Around Christmas time, we are often surrounded by symbols and signs celebrating the season. Everywhere we go, we see trees, mistletoe, wrapped gifts, and red hats. Each symbol has a story.
Take the poinsettia for example. Did you know poinsettias were used by the Aztecs to make purple dye for clothes and cosmetics? And they used the milky white sap to make medicine to treat fevers. Today we call the sap latex. In Mexico, the poinsettia is called “Flor de Noche Buena” (Flower of the Holy Night).
In 1825, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Joel Poinsett introduced poinsettias to the U.S., and within a century, it became a symbol for Christmas because of the star-shaped leaf pattern that looks like the Star of Bethlehem. The red color represents the blood sacrifice of Jesus for our sins.
Just as poinsettias capture your attention, the star did the same for the Magi from the east. Even though it probably took them almost two years before they arrived in Bethlehem to see Jesus, they were drawn by it.
There is a lot we do not know about the Magi, like their actual names, but we do know they were educated. They were a caste of wise men specializing in astronomy, astrology, and natural science. When God provided the star, it is no wonder these men noticed it and were drawn to it.
Going all the way back to the prophet Daniel who had a major influence in Babylon, these magi not only studied the stars but were probably also familiar with Numbers 24:17: “A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel.” And so these ancient scientists, these Magi followed the starry sign.
The star meant that a king had been born! And the Magi followed it, knowing it would lead them to the newborn king. God has always used signs to point us in the right direction. He certainly used signs surrounding the birth of Jesus, like the Star of Wonder, to point people toward a Savior who was deserving of worship.
The signs are all around you, pointing you to Jesus. Every time you look up at the stars or even see a poinsettia, ask yourself if Jesus is YOUR Lord, or are you still missing the signs?