Holy Family: What Would The Magi Find If They Went To Your Home?
Holy Family: What Would The Magi Find If They Went To Your Home?
Surely one of the great stories of Christmas is the story of the visit of the Wise Men from the East. Wherever the story of the birth of Jesus is told, so too is told this delightful tale of strange men from some faraway land who brought gifts to the baby Jesus.
From time immemorial every children’s Christmas pageant has included them–Joseph, Mary and Jesus in the middle, shepherds on the left, Wise Men on the right. Always three nervous little boys bringing gold and two others gifts they can’t pronounce.
All that we know about the Wise Men we find in chapter 2 of Matthew. They show up in verse 1 and disappear in verse 12.
Over the centuries, the Wise Men were given names–Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. They were venerated as saints and a tradition arose called the Adoration of the Magi. In fact, if you go to the Cathedral in Cologne, Germany, you will find relics that are said to be the remains of the Wise Men.
So when the Magi finally found the baby Jesus, were they disappointed? They could have been. After all they been through, after such a long journey, after the detour in Jerusalem, in all outward appearances what they found could be seen as anticlimactic.
Jesus did not look like a king.
His home did not look like a castle.
He had no scepter in his hand, commanded no armies, gave no speeches, passed no laws. He could not walk or talk. No royal decree came from his lips.
There was nothing to make you think he was a king. To the outward eye, he was nothing but a peasant child born in dire poverty.
To the Magi, he was a king.
He possessed more royalty in a cradle than Herod possessed in his fine palace.
He was greater in his infancy than Louis XIV in his position as King.
He was more powerful as a child than Napoleon as an emperor.
But it did not seem that way outwardly. The eyes of flesh revealed nothing but a normal child, gurgling and cooing, moving his tiny hands side to side, reaching eagerly for his mother’s breast. Somehow the Magi saw beyond the present and into the future and in deep faith, they worshipped him. They saw that this child would one day rule the world and they were not ashamed to fall on their faces before him.
From the Apostolic Letters of Pope Leo XIII
"When God in his mercy determined to accomplish the work of man's renewal, which some had so many long ages awaited, he appointed and ordained this work on such wise that its very beginning might shew to the world the august spectacle of a Family which was known to be divinely constituted; that therein all men might behold a perfect model, as well of domestic life as of every virtue and pattern of holiness: for such indeed was the Holy Family of Nazareth. There in secret dwelt the Sun of Righteousness, until the time when he should shine out in full splendour in the sight of all nations. There Christ, our God and Saviour, lived with his Virgin Mother, and with that most holy man Joseph, who held to him the place of father. No one can doubt that in this Holy Family was displayed every virtue which can be called forth by an ordinary home life, with its mutual services of charity, its holy relationship and connection with each other, and its practices of godly piety, since the Holy Family was destined to be a pattern to all others. For that very reason was it established by the merciful designs of Providence, namely, that every Christian, in every walk of life and in every place, might easily, if he would but give heed to it, have before him a motive and a pattern for the good life."
Again, let me repeat what Pope Leo The XIII said:
“No one can doubt that in this Holy Family was displayed every virtue which can be called forth by an ordinary home life.”
So my question today is this. What if the Magi showed up at your house, what would they fine?
Would they find what Pope Leo called, “an ordinary home life, with its mutual services of charity, its holy relationship and connection with each other, and its practices of godly piety”
In Malachi 2:15, we read that God made a man and his wife one in order that through them He might receive godly children.... “And did not he make one? Yet had he the portion of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.”
Anyone can raise children. But the follower of Jesus raises godly children. And for this, the very first requirement is that at least one of the two parents must be a wholehearted follower of Jesus who loves the Lord with ALL his/her heart. Half-hearted Christians will not be able to raise godly children. A second important requirement is unity between husband and wife. This may not be possible if one partner is not a Christian. Then the other partner must battle it out alone against Satan, for his/her children. But if both are wholehearted, the work is much easier. This is why the right choice of a marriage- partner is so very important. It is very difficult to bring up children in a godly way if the husband and wife are always quarrelling with each other and blaming each other. If you want to build a godly home, seek unity with your husband /wife at any cost - even if, as a result, you have to give up many of your rights. It will be worth it in the long run, when you see the way your children follow the Lord. There is tremendous power in unity between two Christians.
Jesus said in Matthew 18:18-20 that when two disciples are united together on earth, they have authority to bind the activities of the Satanic forces in "the heavenlies" (Ephesians 6:12). That is how we can keep evil spirits away from our homes and away from influencing our children. In Ephesians 5:22 to 6:9, the Holy Spirit speaks of home relationships - between wives and husbands, children and parents, and servants and masters. Immediately thereafter, (verse 10 on-wards) the Holy Spirit goes on to speak about wrestling with evil spirits in the heavenlies. What does that teach us? Just this - that Satan's attacks are primarily directed at home relationships. Here is where we must overcome Satan first of all.
Husbands and wives who quarrel with each other don't realize that they are opening the door (through the gap thus created between them) for Satan to enter their homes and attack their children. A rebellious child who answers his parents rudely may have caught the infection from his mother who speaks in a similar way to her husband or from his father who is rebellious against the Lord in some area. It is no use blaming the poor child for the infection that the parents brought into that home first of all!! It is the parents who need to repent first. Unity in the home is far more important than the size or the beauty of your home or the gadgets you have therein. The glory of God can be manifested in a family that lives in a shack, if they are disciples of the Lord first of all. A true disciple of Jesus will be free from the terrible disease of "blaming others" that Adam and Eve were infected with in Eden. Adam blamed Eve (and God for that matter) for his sin and Eve blamed the serpent for hers. The kingdom of heaven belongs to "the poor in spirit" (Matthew 5:3) - and the first characteristic of one who is poor in spirit is that he has an awareness of his own failure and need first of all. A husband and wife who are both poor in spirit will convert their home into a foretaste of heaven on earth. In such a home, each will be judging himself and not blaming the other. The Devil can never have any access into such a home. Can you imagine what tremendous blessing the children in such a home will inherit?
Let me say a word about "working mothers".
In our day and age, because of the high cost of living, many mothers have left the home and joined the work force outside the home. But certain principles must be borne in mind by such mothers. Titus 2:5 tells us that God's will for women is that they be "a care taker of the home/workers at home", first of all. So, no mother should neglect her home responsibilities to pursue a profession outside the home. Find away when possible to have a business from the home that does not take away from being a wife and mother to her husband and children. The Lord, her husband and her children must always be primary in her affection and devotion - in that order. Her job out side the home (if at all she takes one) must be Number Four priority, after the above three. Married women who do not have any children at home can go to work, without much of a problem.
There are usually TWO reasons why mothers with small children, go outside the home to work these days: 1. For survival, where the income of the husband is just not sufficient to meet the family's needs. 2. For luxury, because the husband and wife want to enjoy a higher standard of living. If you can honestly say before God, that in your case the reason is survival, then you can be certain that God will give you special grace for all your family responsibilities. If however, the real reason is luxury, then I must warn you that you are in real danger. You may reap the consequences only many years later, when your children have left home and become wayward and useless to God. Then it will be too late to do anything about it.
A true disciple will also be careful about the magazines and books that are brought into his home and the type of television, internet and video programs that are watched and looked at by his or her family members. The husband as the head of the home must be like a strict doorkeeper who ensures that nothing worldly enters his home. He has to be like the head of the quality-control department in a factory who examines each product and certifies it. Parents who want their children to be disciples of the Lord must ensure that they do not give in to their children's whims and fancies, in such matters, for that is not love, but foolishness and unfaithfulness to the Lord. The strength of any church is found in the strength of its homes.
If the homes are weak, the church is weak. If the church is weak, the country is weak. The strength of a church lies in the godliness of the homes that constitute that church. May we build homes in our land then that glorify our Lord.