The Christmas Story would have been much different if wise women had been invited instead of wise men. Someone has suggested, “If it had been ‘Wise Women’ instead of ‘Wise Men,’ they would have asked for directions, arrived ahead of time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole, and brought practical gifts from Baby’s ‘R’ Us, including diapers, wipes, bibs, and formula.” One thing is certain: if women were involved, there would have been peace on earth and good will to all men!

The wise men are infamous for showing up 2 years late for Christ’s birth, and we sometimes make light of them because of this. But their contribution to the story of Jesus is no laughing matter. They got it right on two counts: 1. When they reached the home of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus, they came expecting to give rather than receive a gift. They weren’t interested in obtaining a favor for themselves, but in celebrating the Child born King of the Jews. This is a fitting portrayal of the spirit of Christmas. 2. They instantly subordinated their regal splendor and rank to bow before the infant Jesus, the King of Kings. Both acts demonstrated humility. This oft-forgotten trait has a prominent place in the Christmas Story, and it should likewise hold a place of prominence in our attitudes as we celebrate Christmas each year.

Christmas is not about us. It’s not about the ratio of gifts to the length of our Christmas lists. It’s not about the net cash value of our gifts. It’s about the Son who was given, the Child who was born. If we keep this in mind, there should be less clamoring for parking spaces at the mall, less bickering with our family over who gets to cut the turkey or open presents first — less fuss about us, and more focus on Christ. Let the selfless spirit of the wise men fill your heart and inspire you to likewise bow in humility before the King of Kings today.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.