“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
The visit of the Magi is celebrated on January 6 (Epiphany). But the story of the Magi visiting the child Jesus connects with the Christmas story as well. “As with Gladness Men of Old” tells the story of the Magi responding to their discovery of “the guiding star” that indicated a king had been born.
When the Magi saw this star in the heavens, they set out in search of the newborn king. Each stanza of the song encourages the singer to respond in a similar way. With the Magi, who eagerly follow the light to find the newborn king, to bow before him in worship, and to offer “gifts most rare,” we are encouraged to see his splendor, seek his mercy, and bring our “costliest treasures” to “our heavenly King.” We rejoice at the birth of Jesus as the King of kings, and we are called to respond.
We are encouraged to live our lives as an offering to the Lord and King, who has made our salvation possible. The song points us to the promises of Revelation 21-22 describing the full life we will have with God in the new heaven and new earth. Then we will no longer need “created light,” because Jesus, the light of the world, will be our light. There we can forever live with the Lord and “sing alleluias to our King!”
Thank you, Lord, for the Magi’s response of faith: setting out with joy to find the newborn King. May we also, with joy and gladness, live our lives for you each day and forever. Amen.
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