Crabtree Acres

Adoration of the Magi by Fillippino Lippi, 1496

Wise Men Still Seek Him

One of the Christmas songs that we sing at this time of year is about the wise men who traveled far to seek a King born in Bethlehem.  The song may be inaccurate in ways, but Scripture tells us that wise men from the East visited the child Jesus sometime after His birth because they followed “His star” to find this special king.  Mary King, a member of our church who writes the Christmas plays,  made a profound observation in this year's play that helped me see these wise men differently.  She wrote that they brought gifts worthy of a king to the child Jesus, but they also gave their time to Him and their worship to Him.  Time, money, faith and effort were required to travel that far and seek Him, not knowing exactly where He was. Then once they found Him they fell down and worshipped Him. It is not until we truly see Christ that we are able to worship Him in Spirit and Truth, as God commands us to do. 

Another observation that I feel is interesting to think about in this Biblical account is that many people probably saw the star, but had no interest in finding out its importance.  They went on with their lives and ignored the most important event in world history.  The same thing is true of the birth.  Many people were in Bethlehem, but just a few took time to even come to see the child born in a stable.  To them He was just another baby and poor at that!  Who cared about a new baby when there was so much going on in their town.  That is why I chose the painting above to display.  There are both humble shepherds and wise men who were invited by God to see His son and they went, but there are many in the background who could care less about this Savior given to the world on that night.  There are also those in the painting who seem to be angry about Him and I suspect that may represent King Herod, but it could represent anyone who hates the idea of God being in control of His world.  They see God as a threat in their lives, because He wants to change them inside, where they think they have total control.  It is also interesting to me that the end post on the stable in the background looks like a cross hovering over the child.  This child would die on a cross for the sins of this world, but He would not stay dead.  The resurrection would come to prove that He is still alive today.

In the first few years of our marriage Greg and I did not seek God too much, because we thought we knew Him already.  We were church goers and hard workers in the church, but what we did not have was a living Jesus and His Holy Spirit inside of us.  After fruitlessly seeking peace in many places, we finally realized that we needed a living Savior inside of us; we asked Him to take control of our lives, our home, our marriage and our children.  We came into a relationship with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit and knew without a doubt that both of Them were alive and working in our family.  We wanted our children to know this relationship with Christ and prayed for God to tell us how to show them the Savior we now knew.  We began to seek God, not only in the “big things” of our lives, but the “little things” as well.  It takes time and effort to teach children that God is real and alive, but seeking Him on their behalf was worth every minute in time and all the effort we had the strength to give.  Now we see that the seemingly small things where God manifested Himself to us have become the most valuable.  They are the events that built our faith in Him; these are the things that make us all worship Him.

I cannot begin to tell you all of the ways that God has worked in our lives, but I recall two incidents especially that have come up in conversations over the years when we are together as a family:

1.  We traveled quite a bit with our children, camping all over the United States in a very small tent camper.  On one of our trips we were in northern Ohio, coming home from New York State on a lonely, pothole-ridden, interstate highway.  It was a Sunday morning and Greg was using the time to have church in the car.  He was talking about how God provides for us in all situations, when suddenly our camper had a flat tire.  Greg commented, “Well, this is going to be our Sunday School lesson for the day.” We did not have the proper jack to change the tire, so we prayed for God to help us.  Within just a few minutes another car pulled in behind us and stopped.  The man asked if we needed help and Greg explained that we had no jack to fit the trailer. You need to know that this trailer was one we bought used and was pretty old and outdated, so having a jack for it was really a miracle.  This man went back to his car and pulled out exactly the type we needed and then proceeded to change the tire for us.  He would only accept our thanks and no money, and was soon gone. We did not even know the name of this Good Samaritan.  We were so blessed and we knew that God had sent that man (or maybe an angel) to us and the children definitely knew it as well.  None of us has ever forgotten that morning and what God taught all of us about faith and prayer.

2. During the winter of 1978 the children were out of school for 8 straight weeks.  We lived in Woodford County, Kentucky, next to a park and a very good sledding hill right behind our house.  The children and their friends were having fun day after day and keeping me busy getting clothes dry for a return trip to the hill and fixing hot chocolate.  One day they came in and told about a bully who was trying to make other children wreck their sleds by jumping out in front of them.  What he was doing was dangerous and at first I was angry.  I wanted to go to his mother and give her a piece of my mind about her son.  What the children wanted was vengeance.  God reminded me that vengeance was His, not mine.  I sat the kids down and we prayed and asked God to take control of this situation.  The next day this bully broke his leg on the hill and was unable to come outside there for the rest of the winter.  I’m not saying that God broke this child’s leg, but He did allow it to happen for a reason.  I believe that part of that reason was that my children and I needed to believe that God was alive and still working in His world.  He handled this in the best way possible for our children and others.

If we truly seek the living, resurrected Jesus, not just the baby king, but the living King, we will find Him; and our faith will be stronger with every encounter we have with this wonderful Savior and Lord.  – We pray that each of you will have a blessed Christmas and New Year.

Greg and Carolyn Crabtree