Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him." (Matthew 2:1-2)
It's one of the saddest parts of the Christmas story. The wise men saw the star, realized that a king had been born in Judea, gathered their gifts, and set off to honor the baby. Naturally, they headed for Jerusalem, the capital city, where King Herod lived with his family. They didn't know that the new king was no relative of the old one.
With the best of intentions, the wise men touched off a massacre. Herod killed all the boy babies he could find in Bethlehem and the surrounding areas. I wonder if the wise men had trouble sleeping later on. Surely, the news must have reached them!
This is an extreme case, but it happens to us too—we make innocent choices that result in terrible outcomes. And then we lie awake, wondering: "What if I had gone the other way? What if I did that instead of this?"
To all of us who suffer this way, Jesus says, "Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). He takes that load from us: "Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows ... (He is) "a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" (see Isaiah 53:3-4). Jesus came to be our Savior—not just from obvious sins and guilt, but from all the griefs we suffer that could destroy us. He took those things to the cross, too—and offers you something better: healing, comfort, freedom, and everlasting life.
THE PRAYER: You know my burdens, Lord. Help me. Amen.
* Do you think the wise men found out? Why or why not?
* When have you done something that had unexpected consequences, good or bad?
* How do you deal with guilt?
Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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