I am a storyteller. I love to read, hear, and tell good stories. I’ve heard some storytellers say, “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.” I might even agree, as long as our audience understands that our story isn’t true. Of course, we call those kinds of stories fiction. Those types of stories are told simply for entertainment, and they are often quite inspiring, but are not to be believed as truth. Many of us do tend; however, to find true stories a little more moving and inspiring than the fictitious ones. There are many stories that surround the Christmas season that are fantasies. They contain characters that we might call “Make believe.” Many of them have become part of our culture, and we find them to be quite enjoyable, but the main story of Christmas falls in the non-fiction category. The characters in these stories were real, and their stories were true. These stories also contain the real reason why we celebrate Christmas. The following is one of the true stories of Christmas. It can be found in Matthew’s gospel. Matthew tells us:
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’”
Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”
When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way. (Matthew 2:1-12)
The wise men in the Bible story said they had come to worship Jesus. When they saw Him, worship was exactly what they did. They fell down in honor of the Christ child and worshipped. Then, they presented gifts to him. Earlier, when they told Herod the king why they had come, and what they intended to do, he even instructed them to return and tell him where the Christ child was, so he might come and worship too. The story Herod told them was fiction, because he had no desire to worship. The truth is that there are still wise men and wise women, who truly seek to worship the Christ!
May your Christmas be a time of worship and time of joyous celebration. Merry Christmas to you all!
— Bill King is a native of Rainsville, where he and his wife graduated from Plainview High School. King is a director of missions in Opelika, a writer, musician and author. His column appears in the Times-Journal weekend edition. Visit brobillybob.com for more information.