As I write, I am sitting in New York City, here for a few days of rest and relaxation. We have looked at lessons from Handel and the shepherds this holiday season. Let's wrap up the year by looking at one of my favorite aspects of the Christmas story - the Magi.
WHO WERE THOSE MEN?
Who were those wise guys known as Magi who came from the east to visit Jesus and bring him gifts? (You can read this brief story by at Matthew 2:1-12.) We aren't really sure. Nor do we know what they were looking for as they studied the heavens and what kind of star they saw that caused them to follow it hundreds of miles to find an infant king.
There were probably more than three men who came to see Jesus, but we have numbered them as three since they brought three gifts of myrrh, incense and gold. They rode on camels for days, weeks even, not sure of what they would find when they arrived. Now that's faith!
When they did arrive, they checked with King Herod, convinced that he would know where the royal infant was. It is interesting that the wise men knew more of what was going on spiritually in Herod's kingdom than Herod did.
By the time the Magi arrived, Joseph, Mary and Jesus were living in a house, not in a stable, so they came some time after the night the shepherds went to see Jesus in the manger. Since Herod carefully ascertained when the star had first appeared and then had all the male babies two years of age and under killed in Bethlehem, the Magi could have arrived as much as two years after Jesus birth. That's a long time to watch and follow a star.
FOLLOW YOUR OWN STAR
You will need God's help if you are to find and fulfill your purpose. That's not a problem, however, for God is in the business of helping people like you clarify purpose. When Jesus was born, His star appeared and led those who were interested directly to his home. The same thing can happen today for you. God can lead and guide you right where you need to be at exactly when you need to be there. Oftentimes when you can't see your purpose, you aren't quite ready to find it. Yet if you keep searching and following just like the Magi did, your star will appear and suddenly your PurposeQuest will all make sense.
As we prepare to celebrate a new year, I urge you to follow in the footsteps of the Magi. Wise men and women still seek Jesus and, as they do, they find purpose. I pray that 2010 will be a year of purpose and productivity the likes of which you have never seen, imagined or enjoyed. I also pray that when you find the star and follow it, you will end up as the Magi did - worshiping the King and giving Him gifts. There is no greater gift than devoting and dedicating the fulfillment of your purpose to Christ and His kingdom. That is what I plan on doing in the year ahead.
From all the Stanko household, we wish you a very happy, prosperous and purposeful New Year!
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2,011 CRAYONS: Please, please take the time to read my latest update on the Sophia Fund and the Deborah Foundation here and you will understand what I mean by this title. As you read, you will understand what a difference you can make in a child's life with very little effort or investment.
People I don't know are still donating to both efforts to help the Kenyan people. I have no idea how I will get all this over to Kenya, but I am not worried. I have 14 people going with me in February and we will take as much as we can. I truly believe that God will work all this out, so I refuse to fret for even one minute.
After you read these updates, I hope you too will act to help today as we approach the Christmas holiday. I need money and supplies to feed and educate them in a difficult environment. I am grateful for your prayerful and prompt response to the children's needs. If you need more background or information, go to my blog to see my latest posts or go to my Facebook page. I will figure out a way to get everything to Kenya. You just figure out a way to get them to me.
FACEBOOK: I haven't given up on my goal to have 1,000 Facebook friends by 12/31. Right now I have 828. Help me reach my goal!
I update my status on Facebook (you can find me by searching my email, firstname.lastname@example.org) every morning to include a daily verse from Proverbs and an inspirational quote. I do the same on Twitter @johnstanko as well as a daily feature entitled "What Would Jesus Ask?" Go there to sign up and follow along.