Advent 2018 #12: Wise men with SMART goals

The only issue I have with yesterday’s clip is that there’s supposed to be seven stages in the scenario. Personally, I think the seventh stage is a praise and worship session; always best with a robed and dancing gospel choir, but clearly, not practical in a car park.

At any rate, I did visit two shopping centres this afternoon and Target at both… I’m so sad. I think it’s because I’m a former employee, I just can’t help myself.

For the second shopping centre trip I decided to catch the train. It was only one stop away and would save me the struggle of finding a parking space (and actually finding the car park itself at the shopping centre… I realise I don’t know where it is…). It also allowed me to be a friend to the environment which is always good.

Last night I was at another train station (one stop away in the other direction) handing out invitations to my Church’s carols service this Sunday.

It’s amazing how Christmas brings out an openness in many people. There’d be plenty of people yesterday who wouldn’t normally take a brochure about a Church, who took one home with them.

It’s amazing how closed some people are too. Plenty of people say ‘no thanks’ which is totally fine, but then there are those who go right out of their way to side-step you one way and then when you re-position yourself they side-step you the other way too.

This all of course, whilst listening to whatever’s on the other side of their ear phones and refusing to make any eye contact with you. As one Church member said yesterday, “That was a definite ‘get out of my personal space, which is four metres wide’”.

Fascinating. And somewhat hilarious. How difficult is it to just say ‘no’?

Back to praise and worship and the Magi…

As previously discussed, their journey probably wasn’t a great one. It also may have seemed like a foolish thing to do when they were coming from a foreign country to find the Jew’s Messiah.

A famous Chinese proverb states that “The journey of one thousand miles begins with a single step.” I think it also begins with a flip-flopping great reason for going in the first place. The Magi weren’t just men with wisdom. They were men with purpose.

This is made plain when they visit Herod the Great:

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

That’s a definite SMART goal.

Their journey may have been rough but they knew why they were going. And they achieved their goal:

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.

I think Christmas is a great time to consider what you think about Jesus. It’s a time to have an open mind and an open heart, like the wise men who came from so far away and had their praise and worship session at the end of their journey.

A far greater praise and worship session that when you find a parking space.

Yet many would prefer to keep Jesus out of their four metre-wide personal space, shove something in their ears to drown him out and refuse to make eye contact.

What is your response to the baby in the manger?

Yours in worship,


Photo by SplitShire on

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