December 23 of Advent: The Star of Bethlehem

Jesse Tree

December 23 of Advent: The Star of Bethlehem

A Reading from the Gospel According to Matthew (2:1-12):

“When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.’ When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet:

“‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.’

“Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.’ After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.”

O Emmanuel, God with us, the heavenly hosts announced Your birth to the shepherds and the heavens guided the nations to Your manger. Wise men followed the star that illuminated the night, bringing gifts to honor Your birth and foretell Your mission: gold for the Kingdom You would proclaim, frankincense for Your priestly service, and myrrh for the bitter death You would suffer and for the healing of souls Your sacrifice would achieve. May we follow You in service and sacrifice that we may one day have a share in Your Kingdom. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.

Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.

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