It Will Never Be A Silent Night

Bible Book: Matthew  2 : 1-12
Subject: Christmas; Jesus, Birth of

Have you noticed that the world is always trying to replace the true meaning of Christmas with something else? Most stores don't even use the word Christmas any more and many have changed Christmas Sale to "Winter Sales Event," or, "Holiday Savings Galore." We are warned in October to get a head start on our "holiday shopping." Parents begin to ask, "When does the Winter School Break begin," instead of asking, "When do the kids get out for Christmas?"

The world works to silence Christmas, but it can't be done. I love the Christmas hymn Silent Night, but acutally Christmas could not be silenced when it happened and cannot be silenced now! The angels could not be hushed, the Magi could not be stopped and the Baby born in that manger could not be slain by Herod. One can easily see what the world is trying to do - more and more Christ is being shut out of Christmas. Without Jesus, all one has is a "holiday" and a time to do "holiday shopping." When the first Christmas took place, God made sure that it was visible and undeniable - He placed a star in the sky. He had angels sing of His birth. Christmas cannot be silenced no matter how hard some try to keep the message quiet.

Look with me at Matthew 12:1-12

Here is the story of the Wise Men who came to worship Christ and to bring Him gifts, and this is in fact how Christmas gift-giving actually began. I want you to see three things with me regarding this wonderful and truthful story.

I. Look at how they Sought Him

A. The Desire that Commenced the Trip

The Magi wanted to know the truth about this birth. How did they know to follow a star in the east? Look at Numbers 24:17, "I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult." (NKJV)

For a long time those who studied the constellations believed that a star would signal the birth of a mighty king in the land of Israel. The Magi were Wise Men who studied ancient texts and also studied the Universe. They saw an unusual star and surmised that this must be the promised King, the Messiah that was promised in the Jewish scriptures. They took the Word of God seriously and were among the first to celebrate Christmas. In our day, scripture is a mere byline to the activities surrounding the season. One cannot come to Jesus without coming to His Word and believing it.

It is a sad thing today that so few people actually study the Bible and seek for the truth given to us by God. Many people today believe that there is no absolute truth. The Lord says, "Those that seek me shall find me." Indeed, God reveals Himself, but He cannot be known fully unless one's heart is open to the truth concerning who He is. Before God revealed Himself incarnate, He revealed Himself in His Word. Remember, "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing from the Word of God. (Romans 10:17)"

B. A Devotion that Completed the Trip

The Wisemen were devoted to finding the truth and doing whatever was necessary to verify it for their own hearts and minds.The journey the Wisemen took was long, complicated and dangerous, but they were zealous in the pursuit of the truth. Their fervent hearts drove them to see for themselves what the scriptures declared.

I have been thinking of the devotion shown by shoppers to get just the right gift or gifts for loved ones or friends. You surely saw recently how people all over the country stood in line for hours, some actually spending the night in tents, to get in line for the big sales events for Black Friday this year - as they do every year. Even as we are in church this Sunday morning some some poor soul is out there facing the crowds at the malls and shopping centers in order to buy that much sought after gift. Computers are open and fingers are flying over the keys to order a gift that will arrive in time for exchanging gifts. Even while we are here to worship the King, they are out there looking for the latest thing. Tempers flare, car horns blow, and people actually get into fights over parking spaces. For some people, credit cards are max-ed out or savings accounts are depleted in the process of buying gifts. Actually, the joy of Christmas is found in only One gift - the gift of God's Son. You can't experience the joy of Christmas if you don't know the One who is the center of it all.

One lady had shopped for hours with her daughter. She was frustrated and tired. She came out of one store and said to her daughter, "Did you see the horrible look that cashier gave me?" The daughter said, "He didn't give it to you, mother. You had that horrible look on your face when you went in there."

It would be wonderful if people had the same devotion for Christ at Christmastime that they have for shopping. The Magi had a devotion to know and seek the truth. They traveled from an area around Persia, which is modern day Iraq, Afganistan, Iran, or other such countries, to make their way to the place where the star led them. It is estimated by those who know the distances in that part of the world that a trip by camel caravan would have taken up to six months to complete. Now that took some enthusiastic devotion to complete that journey.

God prophesied that a Messiah would come and come He did. A star pointed to the place where He was, yet it took devotion on the part of the Magi to come to Him. The same is true today. There is a modern saying that is so apropos - "Wise Men [and women] Still Seek Him."

Sadly, there are those who not only fail to seek Him, they attempt to shut Him out of the day that is set aside to remember His birth. Herod tried that in the beginning. He heard from the Magi that the King had been born and later sent soldiers to kill all the male babies in Bethlehem who were two years of age and younger. Herod could not smother Christmas and neither can this world today. There will always be some people wise enough to seek Him!

Today, Jesus is rejected and neglected by many people - even during the Christmas season. Numerous companies refuse to use the phrase, "Merry Christmas." Perhaps they fear that they will offend some shoppers. Maybe they just want to turn this season into a great shopping event and don't want us to think too much about the divine nature of the season. Whatever the reason, they try to shut Jesus out. Schools across the country now call the Christmas break from school the Winter Break. Never mind that there would not be a holiday without the celebration of Christ's birth - they just refuse to call it Christmas because the name of Christ is in the title. Don't get me wrong; I don't want the school system to support Christianity any more than I want them to forbid our faith from being expressed. But face it; Christmas is Christmas because of Christ!

Listen to the Scripture found in Deuteronomy 4:29, "But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul."

More importantly, it is critical that we who claim Christ as our Savior are careful to keep Christ at the heart of Christmas. To do that, we will have to be like the Magi and work at the process of following Him and honoring Him at Christmas time!

We have seen how they SOUGHT Him, now let's look at what they BROUGHT Him!

II. Look at what they Brought Him

A. The Gift of Gold

Gold was a gift given to a King. The Magi believed they had found the King when they had finally made their way to Jesus. The amount of gold they gave Him is not mentioned, but this act should remind us to bring special gifts to Jesus. After all, whose birthday is it, anyway?

This is a great time to align your spending with your faith. One preacher I knew made a commitment to give more money to missions every Christmas than he would spend for any one gift for any person. That is a great policy - and a wonderful way to honor Jesus. Give a gift to the Lottie Moon International Mission's fund this year that exceeds the amount you will spend for any one gift. Jayne and I have sought to practice this through the years. He is the King. It is His birthday. Let's honor Him appropriately.

B. The Gift of Frankincense

Frankincense was a sweet smelling incense that was costly. It was a symbol of prayer. The Jewish people burned incense in the Temple as a signification of their prayers being sent up to God. A gift of frankincense seems to indicate that the Magi saw Jesus as the true Messiah - the Lord Himself come down to man. Just how much they understood about this we do not know, but they gave Him a gift that revealed great respect and faith that He would be able to hear and answer man's needs.

Indeed, Jesus is our Advocate - seated now at the right hand of God. He intercedes for us when we pray. We should be praying for lost friends, for each other and for our missionaries around the world who are serving God in some very dangerous places. When you think of the frankincense that the Magi brought to Him, let it remind you to pray, and in the process let it remind you to praise and honor Him who hears and answers your prayers.

C. The Gift of Myrrh

Myrrh was a product used in burial. Strangely, the Magi brought this gift to Jesus. It was as if they knew He would suffer greatly and gave Him the gift as an act of faith. Whether they knew it or not, they were honoring the one who would die for the sins of the world.

That baby in the manger at Bethlehem was more than a mere man. He as the one who would go to Calvary and pay for our sins in His own body. We cannot properly celebrate Christmas without remembering that Jesus came to die. He came to die for you and for me. Christmas is a sweet and special time. After all, babies are so precious. You can't look at a little baby without feeling a special love in your heart. But, we must not sentimentalize the birth of Jesus and leave out the fact that this baby had the shadow of the cross stretched across His manger.

III. Look at what it Taught Them

A. It Taught them to Worship Properly

Look at Matthew 2:2. The Magi said that they had come to 'worship' this new born child. Wow! What an act of faith and devotion. The Bible says that they "fell down and worshipped Him."

This is what we must learn and re-learn as believers. True Christians are never so arrogance, pride-filled or haughty that they are ashamed to bow down before Jesus. The Magi were great, learned and well-traveled men. They could have felt themselves too important to bow down before this baby. But, no, they put aside their selfishness, conceit, and pride, and bowed humbly before Him.

It the midst of this Christmas season, let us honor Him. Let us bow down. The songwriter penned, "O come let us adore Him."

B. It Taught them to Walk Properly

When they worshipped as they should, they were led by the Holy Spirit to follow a new path. They did not go back the way they had come. When you worship Jesus as you should, you never walk the same path as walked in the past!


Most importantly, to know Jesus is experience a new birth. His birth at Bethlehem can help us remember that those who receive Him as Savior are actually dead to the old life and alive with a new life that they cannot lose. Let me illustrate.

Back during the days of the Civil War, the government drafted men into service. A man in Mercer County, Pennsylvania, was drawn to enlist. However, because of sickness at home, he felt he could not leave. The administration permitted him to secure someone to take his place. The substitute enlisted and went out in place of the man who was drafted. In a short time, the substitute was killed and buried, and the government made a record of it. However, by some oversight on the part of the officials, the name of the man who has been excused was placed in another draft, and his name drawn second time. He went before the authorities and said to them, "You cannot draft me for I am a dead man." They asked him what he meant, and he said, "Look at the records. You will see that I enlisted, I fought, and I died in the person of my substitute."

That Baby born 2,000 years ago, came to be my substitute. I have received Him and I cannot be put to death because He has already died in my place. He has given me His life because He took my place in death.

What has happened to Christmas? Nothing, really. You cannot get rid of Christmas because you can't get rid of Christ. They couldn't keep it in Bethlehem then and the world can't keep it there now. Many people who are out shopping for a gift just don't realize that the greatest gift is the One already given to them - new life in the Christ of Christmas - if only they would receive Him.

Let us honor the One born in Bethlehem, the One who lived without sin, the One who died in our place, the One who rose from the dead, and the One who will never leave us nor forsake us Never let us be silent about what God has done for us. We are celebrating the Birthday of the King!