Take a few minutes to push the “pause” button on whatever is going on around you and be still with God.
Matthew 2:1-12 (NRSV)
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd my people Israel.’”
Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
Epiphany is the official ending of the Christmas season. By now, most of us have already put the season behind us and moved on with our routines, but there is a good chance that only six days into this year, you have already had to change plans once or twice, maybe more.
Detours don’t just happen on a highway; they happen in life. For most folks, a detour is an obstacle to overcome. Let’s face it, if you are a path-loving, calendar-driven, time-is-money person, you don’t want to be bothered by a detour. It’s unexpected. It wasn’t planned. It causes us to stop and reevaluate the situation, necessitating a change in our plans.
Pause for a moment and think about the journey of the Magi, or Wise Men. Verse 12 tells us that they were warned in a dream not to return the same way they had come, which would have taken them back to Herod. They had traveled far, seen the new King, worshiped him, and given their offerings, but now they must detour! If they gone back the way they came, Jesus would have been in immediate danger from Herod. Trying to slip through without stopping to see Herod would probably still have put Jesus (and themselves) in danger. The only safe route was a different one, a detour. Chances are it was probably longer, less traveled, and maybe more dangerous, but necessary and directed by God.
Life will take detours. Have you ever considered the detours you are sent on in life to be directed and used by God?
Lord, sometimes our best laid plans must change. Help us to overcome the urge to get upset and angry when detours happen and to see them as your divine providence in our lives, directing and guiding us in the ways we should go. Thank you for revealing yourself to us in Jesus. Amen.
Go with God.