The Wise Men did three things that we would all be wise to do more in our own lives. I’m challenged by their willingness to risk courageously, believe intently, and worship passionately. These are important things we all need to do more of and things we should pray that God would helps us truly accomplish in our lives. Not just at Christmas, but all year long.

The Wise Men risked time, energy, safety, money, and more when they set out to find the Christ-child – especially with the back drop of an insecure, unstable, and slightly mad Herod in the mix. Who knows what Herod could have done to them, especially when they didn’t go back to tell him what he wanted. They were willing to risk it all to find the One who had been foretold.

Risk often carries a negative connotation (“Don’t take unnecessary risks” we say) but risk is also a very positive concept when understood. Most 80-year-olds (and beyond) when surveyed and asked what they would do differently if they had life to live over again said they would “risk more.” Where can you step out and risk more? Every major player in the Bible was a person or people who took risks. We call it faith, but the stories tell of people who stepped out and overcame great odds. Where does God want you to step out and go for it (in your marriage, education, generosity, faith, career, etc)? The Wise Men went for it and they found what they were looking for. They never would have found the Savior if they had not set out to follow the Star.

The Wise Men were students and they believed; they believed a King was to be born. Herod could have derailed their pursuit. The rigors of ancient travel could have shut them down. They could have become discouraged by many factors along the way. But they believed in their pursuit and they completed their journey. Life can derail us because, truth be told, life is oftentimes hard. But we need to keep hope alive by keeping belief alive. I’m reminded as I study the Wise Men that God does not promise us an easy, trouble-free life. He is not a cosmic genie who must answer our every command. No, life is a journey. And it is sometimes riddled with setbacks and challenges. But God will help carry us through as we believe in Him and rely on Him. This is one of the most important principles of the Christian life and the one many people miss or get confused by. God is faithful and God is good, but life is hard and not always easy or good. We must persevere and believe and trust and hope. I’m inspired by the Wise Men who believed in their pursuit of the Christ-child.

When the Wise Men found Jesus the Bible says they “fell down and worshiped Him,” and they “gave gifts.” These two things speak to me personally and inspire me to worship more. The first thing I’m struck by is the passion painted by this picture of them “falling down and worshipping.” This is not just a ho-hum encounter. They had traveled far. The trip was certainly not easy. They came to meet One, and only One. They were deeply moved when they met Jesus. They “fell down” and “worshipped.” May we never, ever lose the awe of Jesus. May we nurture in our own hearts a sense of His wonder and awesomeness and of His great love for us. May we always be deeply moved, and may we always worship.

Part of worship is giving. We give the best part of our hearts, our minds, and our lives. We give of our money and our energy. We give generously because He gave generously first. In fact, He gave everything. This Christmas, pray with me and join me in risking more for God, believing more in Jesus, and worshipping Christ more and more.