December 25, Tuesday

The Magi before Herod in the Leiden St. Louis Psalter

Where is he who has been born King of the Jews?

Matthew 2:2.

By now we have grown accustomed to the fact that we are in the 21st century. Two thousand years have passed – since when? Many seem to have forgotten that we still reckon time from the birth of Jesus Christ. It is astonishing that, when it happened, hardly anyone in Israel took any notice of it, although the Old Testament prophets had announced it long before. Very few among the Jewish nation believed in their coming Prince.

Israel’s leaders were, moreover, dismayed when one day wise men arrived from the east and inquired after the newborn King of Jews. Some scholars remembered a passage by the prophet Micah (ch.5:v.1), in which the exact place was named where Christ would be born, Bethlehem near Jerusalem. The news that these strangers had seen a star in the sky and connected it with the birth of the promised One so shocked Herod, who was then ruler over Judaea, that he had many small boys murdered in order to prevent any rivalry; but God preserved the holy child Jesus.

The Bible goes on to report that when Jesus was about 30 years old He ministered publicly among the people, teaching them about the kingdom of God and showing by many miracles that he was the One sent by God. Being too proud to repent, most rejected Him. They would not turn to God and confess their sins. Is it any different today? Isn’t Christ still rejected by most people in spite of Christmas?

Image: By Leiden University (dynamic database, search in special collections on “Psalter van Lodewijk de Heilige” or click on image here), Public Domain,