In last Sunday’s Gospel account of the Magi’s quest to discover the newborn king of the Jews, we were presented with two approaches to seeking Christ. Upon King Herod learning of a possible threat to the throne by the awaited Messiah, fear overtook his capacity to see with the mind and heart of God:
“When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him”
– Matthew 2:3
When presented with the prophecy, King Herod acted out of fear, seeking to kill the alleged king. How often do I receive information, whether true or in the form of gossip, and immediately jump to a judgment or negative conclusion? This path of imagined thinking often leads me to destructive thoughts or actions that find no grounding in reality. I then find myself frustrated with God and seek him out of anger, jealousy, or with feelings of being betrayed.
“When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him.”
With faith, the Magi trusted in the prophecy of the Old Testament that a ruler, a shepherd for the people of Israel, would come from Bethlehem. And in hope, they followed the star that lead them to the fulfillment of joy itself. How often do I experience peace and joy after entrusting my desires, plans, and projects to God? When I choose to let go of the control I frequently exercise in many areas of my life, I experience freedom from the pressures I seemingly create.
In this New Year, let us ask God for an increase in faith, to believe that He can do all things. And may we also ask for an increase in hope, to know with certainty that He will.