I approached my morning with a release of breath that I didn’t know I was holding. Anticipating. Waiting for Him. The birth of Christ-the-King. He’s here. He came. And this morning, we hail His incarnate deity. And celebrate the birth of our Messiah-babe. Happy Birthday, Jesus.
The wise men followed that blazing hot and burning bright star. His star. A star that could also be called His glory. Another story in another book gives us the tie-in:
the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east
“His voice was like the sound of many waters,” the verse in Ezekiel 43 goes on to say. “And the earth shone with His glory.” It gave light. Shining like the sun. Or the moon. Or the stars. And in that chapter, after His glory came from the way of the east, a tour is given of the temple. God’s dwelling place. Beginning in the inner court. The place of His throne and the place of the soles of His feet, where He would dwell in the midst of His people. It’s the same place that Zacharias encountered that angel Gabriel while he was burning the incense on that altar covered over in gold. After he and the altar were both anointed with oil.
The wise men followed the-star-of-His-glory. And it led them straight to the small home that was neatly tucked away in that small city-of-David-village called Bethlehem. The crowds had cleared and the divinely-created-family-of-three finally had a home. And those astrologers from the East were standing at its threshold.
They knocked on the door. And when it opened, they saw Him. This Messiah they had journeyed after. And searched so long for. They now laid eyes upon Him as His mother held Him. Taking in every detail. The fat rolls on His thighs. And the so-soft-baby-skin. And eyes that pierced them. And hands that would some day be pierced. And they fell down prostrate. Right there in the threshold. Suppliantly. And humbly. Rendering worship to the rendered Miracle. With foreheads touching ground. Just as they had intended.
There was another man that also did that in another story. Also in Ezekiel. A few chapters after His glory came from the east, a prince worshiped God in the threshold of the temple. In the doorway of His dwelling that was a pattern of heaven. He also fell on his knees and touched the ground with his forehead. It would set a precedent for the rest of the nation. They, too, would worship at the doorway of the dwelling place of God. And now, 600 years later, these men from an entirely different country did the same.
they stood in the dwelling place of Christ-the-King
And they worshiped with expressions of profound reverence. And then, when they stood back up again on their feet, they opened the treasures that had been carried all the way from their far-off-home. And they pulled out gold. And frankincense. And myrrh.
It’s almost a mirror picture of that story in Ezekiel. The details near identical. Of His glory out of the east and the tour of His dwelling. The dwelling that included the altar that was covered over with gold. They brought Him gold. Upon which the incense was burned. Incense that was meticulously created from a very specific recipe of sweet spices, stacte and onycha and galbanum, and pure frankincense. They brought Him frankincense. But before any incense could even be offered, the altar was first annointed. With an oil that was meticulously created from a very specific recipe of liquid myrrh, sweet-smelling cinnamon, and sweet-smelling cane. They brought Him myrrh.
The Babe was born. And when those men from the East, led by the glory of God from the way of the east, came to His dwelling place, they brought gifts. And offerings. As an expression of honor after their expression of reverence. On earth as it is in heaven.
And then, as quickly as they came, they left. But they went back to their country-from-the-East another way. A dream had warned them to not go back to Herod. To not tell the King of Judea where the newly-born-King-of-the-entire-Jewish-race could be found. Because he had secret plans to kill the Babe that would soon come out.
so they went home another way
And in that book of Ezekiel? After the prince worships in the threshold of the temple? A handful of verses later, there’s one small detail on the manner of worship. That when the people of the land come before the LORD on the appointed feast days, they have to return home through a different gate. If they come in through the north, they have to leave through the south. If they enter in the south, they shall go out through the north. They shall not return by way of the gate through which he came.
The people always had to leave God’s dwelling place a different way. And on that day, the wise men from the East did the same. Because you can’t come to the presence of God and leave the same way you came in. You will always leave changed.
LORD, thank You for Advent. For the gift of Your son. And that we can celebrate His birth. I pray that we would leave today changed. That we would worship in the doorway of His dwelling place, and give Him gifts and offerings, and leave changed. Noticeably different after studying Your Word and reading the story of the nativity of Jesus for twenty-three days straight. May we leave glowing with Your glory, LORD. And may all that we do and say today celebrate You.