The pain is there, this unstoppable circle of life that cannot be run away from, this slow unfurling of a hurt that rings deep. But it is never the end. Because the soft whisper of a name — Matthew the tax collector — tells the story of a man hated and despised, of a man whose life changed by the simple phrase “Follow Me” and who knew, that to be identified by ones mistakes and failures, shortcomings and weaknesses? To speak out loud of your failures, to be identified by your mistakes — might not spell out brave in this broken world turned dark. But in God’s perspective, our confessed failures turn into victories won and our weakness only makes us strong.
The Lord Himself comes seeking after us who flee in the presence of fear, us who are ready to flee at the first sighting of trouble ahead of us. Whether it is impossible situations or impossible people that we are escaping from, God comes seeking after us Himself and we can trust that He will always find us, no matter where we come from this time. Here, we face only grace and redemption as we look to the eyes of Love Himself.
Before the wise men give their gifts — gold, frankincense, and myrrh — they bring their hearts to Jesus. Beloved, may we do just the same this Christmas, knowing that gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh will not matter if our hearts are not bowed first. If our knees are not bended first.
These people knew Christ would be born in Bethlehem of Judea, that He would be the Ruler of the people of Israel — and yet, they did nothing about this information. They did not go seeking for the Messiah. They did not try to find out more about Jesus, though they knew He was to be born right there in Bethlehem, a town right next to Jerusalem.