When my children were young, we used to host a “birthday party” for Jesus each December. A common practice in Sunday School and Christian School settings. We’d sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus and eat cake in His honor in hopes that it would help us – especially our children – to focus on the reason for the season.
Then we would rush off to the next activity, meeting, or gathering in an effort to get to everything we packed into the holiday season.
I think of some other people who long ago celebrated the birth of Jesus, bringing him what we might think of as “birthday presents.” In the old hymn “We Three Kings,” tradition even suggests that a song was offered then, too:
Frankincense to offer have I;
incense owns a Deity nigh;
prayer and praising, voices raising,
worshiping God on high.
These wise men from the East had long been anticipating the coming of the Messiah. When they saw the star that was foretold to be a sign of his arrival, they started out their journey with great expectation. They had one simple objective for their journey and the gifts they brought: they wanted to meet Jesus.
And what a beautiful wisdom that embodied.
During this season filled with gift giving and travel and family gatherings – and for so many, an overbooked calendar – have we learned from the wisdom of the wise men?
Andy Stanley says one of the best questions we can ask ourselves is not “is it legal?” or “is it acceptable?” or “is it right?”
Instead, he suggests, we should ask “is it wise?”
Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it.
– Proverbs 8:33
It’s not a question we have to answer alone. James reminds us: “If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him; he will not resent it.” (James 1:5, NLT)
During my Advent reflections, I find myself so grateful for a God who is abundantly generous with His wisdom. And also grateful to get to do important work alongside a team that regularly seeks that wisdom.
It can be all too easy to slip out of the habit of wisdom-seeking during a busy time of year. But Jesus came to be an example of wise living. And he sent a wise Counselor to guide us. So the popular seasonal phrase rings very true: wise men still seek Him.
As we wrap up this little devotional time together, here’s a version of the traditional American Christmas carol that the young children in your life may enjoy. Actually, I still enjoy it!
How will you carve out time to seek His wisdom this season?
Dr. Teresa Moon, founding President and CEO of the Institute for Cultural Communicators, is an internationally-recognized seminar speaker, education consultant, author, and leadership coach. Each year, she travels globally equipping students, teachers, and parents to become “cultural communicators,” transforming ordinary students into extraordinary communicators and authentic leaders.