By Another Way

Today’s Devotional is offered by Rev. Pat Cox. 

“Never let the truth stand in the way of a good story.” 
-Rev. Chris Aho, 2nd Sunday in Advent 2016

And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. 
– Matthew 2.12 KJV

The truth is most of us, including preachers, have as much trouble remembering the pastor’s sermon as anyone else. However, I love a great quotation and the above by my pastor spoke to me in a special last year.

Most of what we know about the life of Jesus is a combination of facts that come to us from a collection of sayings we call the gospels. Each gospel is different in many ways but so alike in many other ways. Each author has perhaps a different audience, a different purpose in writing, and even a different interpretation to explain the same event.

The birth of Jesus is a magical story full of wonderful characters about a time and place so long and far away but it still speaks in ways that strike the imagination of many.

Even though we speak and sing of the “Three Kings of Orient Are,” we question like many others over the years: who were these three visitors bearing gifts? The interpreters of the story have explained the visitors and assigned to them the role of foreign kings, astrologers, philosophers, and wise men. In fact, the Bible does not actually speak of “three” visitors at all. However, in the telling of the story because there were three gifts there arose the idea that there were three special visitors. Even the timing of their visit is not specified and could have been some time after the birth of the Baby Jesus. Legend names the visitors as Casper, Melchior, and Balthasar.

They came and inquired of King Herod where they might find the Christ Child. Herod asked that they return to him when they find the baby that he, too, might visit and pay homage.

When the visitors from afar found Jesus and presented their gifts they rested after there long journey and in a dream were persuaded by the Lord to return home “by another way.”

The simple truth of this story about the birth of Jesus as explained by Rev. Carlton Smith, pastor at Delrayno Baptist Church, many years ago, spoke to me and encouraged us who meet Jesus and present to him the claim he has on our lives is that we too depart another way.

Prayer: Lord, we come to offer ourselves and our best to you. Help us to be changed and to walk differently because of how we have been blessed by giving ourselves to you. Amen