December 12, 2020

Matthew 2:1-2; 10-12

Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn King of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”

When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.


I live and work at a summer camp about 30 minutes east of Portland. One of my favorite things to do on a clear night is to lay a blanket down and take in the starry night sky. Because camp is far away from city lights and noise, I’m able to be in complete darkness & silence when I look up, seeing a sky full of stars. When I stop long enough, quiet my mind, and look, I’m struck by the amazing intricacies of creation. It brings to mind a verse in the Psalms, “when I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them…” (Psalm 8:3).

The wise men from the east also saw a sky full of stars, and one, in particular, shone brighter than the rest. His star. And these men followed the stars leading to the newborn King so they could worship him and give him gifts they brought along the journey, just for him.

Reading this passage reminds me of one of my favorite Christmas Carols, “In the Bleak Midwinter.” I love all of the words, but the last paragraph always catches my attention:

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
 If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
 If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
 Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

This King, who the wise men came to worship, is the same one who invites me to go to him. But before I go, I second guess myself & wonder, “How can I present myself in the best way possible? What if I’m not good enough? What could I possibly bring him? I have nothing. I am nothing.” Those thoughts use to stop me completely, but thankfully I hear God’s loving voice over the rest, “Kelly, I don’t need all that. I just want you.” And I choose to believe Him.

And so, when I ask myself this advent season, what can I give Him, I repeat back to myself, “Give him my heart.”


— Kelly Jo Cox