Seeking the Newborn King
by: Andrea Poppleton
The news came to the wise men and Herod alike: a king had been born. The wise men heard it and believed. When Herod heard it, he also believed—in a way. The wise men set out to seek the new king. When they found him “they knelt down and paid him homage” (v. 11 NRSV). King Herod also sought the newborn king, but he did not intend to show reverence. Instead, Herod sought to kill a royal rival.
A rival would threaten Herod’s power as the “King of the Jews” and might bring political upheaval in his kingdom. Rather than risk being dethroned by an infant king, Herod risked losing the trust of his own people; he proclaimed a death sentence for all children under two years old in and around the city of Bethlehem. The fear of losing his long-held power and position kept Herod from experiencing the joy that the Christ child brought to the world—the joy that the wise men experienced as they knelt before him.
Perhaps while reading your Words of Hope devotional this Advent, you’ve felt challenged to experience Advent and Christmas in some new ways. New things can feel threatening, as we may be led to question traditions we’ve long held dear. If your reading has raised such questions, don’t be afraid. Instead, remember that a Christmas focused on the Christ child can bring you immeasurable joy. Seek him to worship him; don’t do away with him to keep your life from changing.