Did you ever write letters to Santa?

I found a few that are cute:

Dear Santa, How are your reindeer? If you can not buy what I want take it easy on your self. Just give me tens and ones of money.

Dear Santa, You better bring me a pony this year or there will be consequences.

Dear Santa, I flushed my brothers head in the toilet but can I have a puppy?

Dear Santa, I am riting this on the day after x-mas and I am very sad. I only received 1 of the 2 presents I asked for. Sense you ate my cookies I will asoom that my missing gift wuz a miss take. I will give you 1 week too fix this. Jeremy (spelling by Jeremy)

Every Christmas, regardless of our age, we hope we get what we wish for. As we grow older, our wish list gets more complicated. I love the song “My Grown up Christmas Wish.” The list includes:

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown up Christmas list

There are two kinds of hope: wish and know. Wish is the most common. For example, some children hope to get a pony or drum set for Christmas. It’s on their wish list, but no guarantee it will happen. The other hope is a know-so hope. We know what we are getting for Christmas, maybe because we bought it for ourself. We know it but we have to wait to open it.

The know-so hope is the kind of hope the Bible talks about. Some things we know will happen, we just have to wait. For example, the return of Jesus is called the “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13). It’s not called hope because we wish it will happen. It’s hope because we know it will happen, but we must wait for it. 

Waiting is the hardest part. Even if we know what is going to happen, waiting is difficult. But in the story of Christmas we discover how to wait. The wise men were hoping to see Jesus and knew they would find him. But they had to wait. In Matthew 2:1-11, you will discover two things you can do when you have to wait for your hope to be reality. 

1 – Ask for Directions.

The wise men had traveled from east, possibly Babylon area. They had seen a special star in the sky and connected it with a newborn King. Possibly they had read the prophecy of Daniel (example: Daniel 9:24-27) or one by Balaam about a prince and a star (Numbers 24:17). Regardless, they traveled as far as they knew (Jerusalem) and stopped and asked for directions.

This is the first recorded question in the New Testament and it reveals a lot. 

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-2)

  • The word “saying” is a present participle and indicates a continual action. This suggests that they went around asking the same question. This shows their humility, their focus, and their perseverance.
  • They were looking for a King. Most royalty are born a prince or princess, but Jesus was born a King and these men knew it.
  • They discovered ‘his’ star. They were astrologers. God often speaks to us in ways we understand. Yet, they did not necessarily follow the star the whole way. The star led them to Scripture, scripture led them to the Savior. It is the same for us (Ps. 19).
  • They came to worship. It is interesting that they traveled thousands of miles to worship an unknown baby yet Herod and the religious men refused to travel 5 miles (Jerusalem to Bethlehem) to see Jesus. Wise men still worship Jesus.

As you wait, ask for directions. This involves two aspects:

  • Talk to God. Share your sorrows and your pains. Talk to him about what you don’t understand. Ask questions and allow Him to answer. Use the Lord’s Prayer as an example and a guide.
  • Read the Scriptures. The Bible has the answers to life’s questions. You may not even know the right questions to ask. But as you ask for direction, God will guide you step by step. You may be surprised by who gives you direction and where you will go to find your answer. 

2 – Continue to Follow.

Once the wise men discovered that the child would be born in Bethlehem they left for Bethlehem. Once they started the short stage of the journey, the star reappeared and led them to Jesus. This helps us understand how to follow God’s leading.

  • God gives insight when you need it. As far as we know the wise men only had three cues: The initial appearance in the star started their journey to Judah. The instruction of the religious leaders continued their journey to Bethlehem. The star reappeared to guide them to the exact location of Jesus. God gave them the next step of their journey. God will give you guidance when you need to move. Otherwise continue in the pattern He has led you.
  • The wise men were not immune from trouble. Their visit stirred up the jealousy and anger of Herod. Sometimes following God’s guidance leads us into trouble. But God has a bigger plan than we do. We can have hope that “all things work together for good.”
  • God has perfect timing. Waiting is never a waste. The wise men didn’t arrive until Jesus was a toddler living in a house, not a newborn in a manger. Their ‘late’ baby shower gifts were possibly a means of financing their sudden escape from Herod and move to Galilee (Matthew 2:12-23). Rather than unexpected, all of this was part of God’s prophecy of involving Egypt and Galilee in Jesus’ life.

The wise men had hope that they would find Jesus and they did. It took awhile – possibly two years. They searched for Him and found Him. Whatever your hopes are set on, you will discover all you ever hoped for in Jesus. David reminds us “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1) God promised, “You will seek me and find me when you search for me with your whole heart” (Jer. 29:13). This Christmas you can discover hope when you discover Jesus.