December 24, 2003
The Wise Men of Christmas
by Donald G. Mashburn

The Christ of Christmas is often hard to see in this over-commercialized, secularized world. Schools ban “Merry Christmas.” Some prohibit Christmas carols proclaiming the birth of Jesus Christ or referring to Him as Savior.

But in spite of their efforts, some of the good stuff of Christmas won’t go away. Included are the numerous biblical prophecies foretelling the coming of the Messiah; the Baby Jesus in a manger; the wise men traveling to see the Christ sent from God.

Some of these have undergone revision by those who want to diminish or destroy the Christmas story. For example, the “wise men from the East” (Matthew 2:1) are sometimes called “three kings” with no divine association. But the scriptures say “wise men,” not “kings,” were divinely led to Jerusalem.

Biblical history produced many wise men and women. Among them were Noah, Abraham, David and Isaiah, and those intrepid souls guided by a star to the Son of God, “Immanuel, ... God with us” (Matthew 1:23).

Those that followed have understood the real meaning of Christmas. No politically correct “Happy Holidays” for them. They gladly proclaim the Christ of Christmas.

The Apostles John, Peter and Paul were rough men. And in Paul’s case, a persecutor of Christians. But they were men who, through faith in a crucified and risen Savior, became instruments in God’s hands to take the gospel “into all the world.”

Other wise men carried on the tradition. In 1517, Martin Luther – who gave us the timeless hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” – nailed his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenburg, Germany.

Soon thereafter, in 1524, William Tyndale, unable to secure support in England for his Bible in English, left England for Germany. There he met Luther, and in 1525, Tyndale’s version of the New Testament was printed in Cologne as the first English New Testament.

Men like Calvin, Knox and Coverdale, among others, were wise men who exalted Christ. They also played major roles in the spread of His gospel and the establishment of His church throughout the world.

Today, we become dismayed when school principals try to appease the gods of liberalism by prohibiting Christmas carols containing the words “Christ,” “Savior,” or “Lord.” But it could be worse.

For example, by 1644 in England, Christmas was forbidden, and a parliament of Scrooges decreed that shops stay open. They condemned plum pudding and mince pies as “heathen” – not realizing, in their ignorance, that mince pie was a divinely-inspired gift to mankind!

Isaiah prophesized the coming of the Christ of Christmas: “(He) poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

He was the Christ of whom the angel said, “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:8,11). That same Christ died on the cross that we might be “justified by ... His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).

Down through the ages, men and women have maintained the tradition of the Wise Men in worshiping Christ as Savior and Lord, and telling the good news to others. Those faithful include names like Spurgeon, Wesley, Billy Graham, Lottie Moon, Mother Teresa and others committed to serving mankind.

We can include our own president, George W. Bush, for his public professions of faith. He once flummoxed a group of writers, by saying Jesus Christ was his favorite philosopher, “Because He changed my life.” A wise man, indeed.

Without Christ, Christmas has no lasting meaning, and the world’s “holiday” trappings, on Eternity’s scale, are valueless.

The Wise Men of old knew that Christ came. Wise men and women of today know also that He loved us enough to suffer and die for us, and that He’s coming again!