The other morning, we were due at a church picnic by 10 am. In typical Sarah-fashion, I decided that getting up at 8.15 am would be more than enough time to get myself, husband and two kids ready. Until I remembered it was a picnic and I needed to bring food.
That’s okay, I decided, we can get some BBQ chicken from the markets. All set to be on time.
I went to the markets. No chickens. Apparently, I was too early.
That’s okay I decided, I can go to Red Rooster. I’ll still be on time.
I drove around the corner and pulled up in the drive-through, only to hear the recorded message of, ‘This store is currently closed. We will reopen at 10 am.’ There were no chickens. Apparently, I was still too early.
That’s okay, I decided, I can forget the chicken and get some cold meat. Back at the market, there was now a queue over 20 minutes long and my pursuit for picnic food was picking up speed. Apparently, I was now too late.
That’s okay, I decided. By the time, we get near to where I’m going another Red Rooster will be open. And so I drove. And drove. And drove. I realised I was in pursuit; of some 10 am chicken.
At this stage, though, my Google map directions became null and void, and took me closer to Freo for fish, than Melville for chicken. After more Google research, I located another Red Rooster. I did a u-turn and returned in the direction I had come, along a parallel road, through some lights, up a hill and around a bend. There it was, Red Rooster, now more akin to Mecca, with its big red sign and promise of chicken. A promise that the pursuit had been worth it.
I pulled up, jumped out of the car and raced in. I ordered, waited and finally received; the pursuit now complete. The chicken was had, the picnic a success.
The most interesting thing I found, though, in my pursuit for the chicken was the almost gleeful feeling I experienced as I rounded that last bend and saw the ‘big red’ of Red Rooster (I do like chicken, but not that much). It was that sudden gratification that the pursuit had been worthwhile. I wasn’t going to be too late and I had been able to fulfil my pursuit.
This got me thinking about the magi and their pursuit for the King. The traditional Christmas story of the wise men is that there were three wise men, who travelled from the East, following a star, in search of a king, whom they eventually found in a stable, where the star hovered directly above. They presented this babe-King with three gifts: frankincense, gold and myrrh.
We don’t know all of the minor details of this story – there may have been up to twelve Magi, they may have been Babylonian and familiar with Daniel’s prophecies around the Messiah. They may have sighted the star the night Jesus was born and travelled to visit him in his house anytime within the first two years of his life. They were almost certainly well-studied astronomers and astrologers, but we can’t even be sure it was a star they followed (it may have been the Shekinah glory of God himself).
We do know, however, that the Bible tells us they were seeking, “He who had been born King of the Jews” and that they “had come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2:2)
We also know that;
“When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.” (Matthew 2:10)
These wise men, these Magi, who were not Jewish, had come to worship the King of the Jews and when they did eventually find Him, they fell down and worshipped Him. They presented gifts to Him.
They were in pursuit of He who would rule and shepherd His people. King Jesus.
In my pursuit for chicken, I was reminded of the pursuit of something far greater, and more costly than silver and gold: the pursuit of the One who is born King of Kings and Lord of Lords, my Jesus, my Saviour.
In contrast to the wise men’s pursuit of Him, Jesus’ pursuit of us is unrelenting. He will pursue us with His love, all the days of our life. He, who is worthy of all honour and worship, gave us Himself. He is the greatest gift.
As we prepare our hearts to remember His gift to us this Christmas, let us be in pursuit of Him. Let us worship Him and present ourselves to Him. Let us tell Him again how we love and adore Him. Not because we have to and because it is a requirement, but because He is worthy.
He is the gift of God to us – righteousness, peace and joy. Prince of Peace.
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, like the wise men, knowing all honour and glory belongs to our King.