May We Marvel Like the Magi

Instructed by the king, they set off. Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time! They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, His mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped Him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh. In a dream, they were warned not to report back to Herod. So they worked out another route, left that territory without being seen, and returned to their own country. – (Matthew 2:9-12, MSG)


As I continue on my journey to dig deeper into the stories of those who first were mentioned in the Christmas story, this morning I did some searching about the Magi. What I had already learned, is that the wise men who visited bearing gifts, did not actually visit Mary, Joseph and Jesus as He lay in the manger. It was likely a year or two later. As mentioned, the wise men entered their home, not an animal shelter of sorts with Jesus in a manger. My new discovery however, is that according to what I found, the Magi were a priesthood of the Medes, known for their exceptional religious knowledge, and some proved to be experts at interpretation of dreams. This was the very same group of wise men and advisors to whom Daniel had been appointed Chief of the Magi, several generations prior. The gifts that these priestly people brought had prophetic and powerful meaning in religious realms. Gold spoke of His kingship, frankincense was a spice used in priestly duties, and myrrh was an embalming ointment anticipating His death. The wise men followed a star, knowing of the significance of Who they would find if they followed where it led. Based on the gifts that they had prepared to take, I imagine that they had already been given some dreams and insight about what had been foretold long before. It is awe-inspiring to envision what the moment must have been like for the Magi. A lifetime of studying and seeking, and then suddenly these wise men found themselves standing before the Savior of the world.  May we each have Magi-like moments this Christmas, where we recognize in awe and wonder, His powerful presence, because He chose to come and be God with us.


A star of wonder, May We Live Like the Magi

Led wise men afar;

Check in with a king,

Then follow the star.

The Magi arrived,

In Bethlehem town;

The way clearly shown,

As the star shined down.

With awe and wonder,

The wise men took knee;

They gave Him their gifts,

All praise unto Thee.

May we too behold,

A similar awe;

At the Gift given,

What the wise men saw.


Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You willingly show us more and more of Who You are and all that You have done, as we seek You and ask for Your insight. Thank You for the faithfulness and obedience of the Magi, and a bit more of the story behind them. Forgive us for taking everything at face value, or for becoming numb to the depth and life that come from beholding the truth and the treasure that is found in the story of Jesus’ arrival. Teach us to seek to see it through fresh eyes, so that we never lose our awe and wonder at the glory of the Gift that You gave. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points hearts to You, the ultimate Giver of all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe of all that You have done for us, and the very reason we celebrate this season. Amen.


© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present


He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

(link to Magi research)

Eager Anticipation

Eager anticipation brought a boy to my bedside at 2:28 this morning. Innocently, he asked if it was time yet… After a moment of orientation, I checked the clock and redirected him to return to bed, assuring him that none of the grown-ups would be ready for at least a few more hours. At 5:00 am sharp, in he silently crept again, this time leaning in for a sweet snuggle, hoping to raise the household to life. Gladly, I obliged, as my body is accustomed to early mornings, yet I reminded him that it may not be as simple with those who were still asleep. Fortunately, he and his brother’s energetic enthusiasm was met well, even by those who had been sleeping soundly. Soon the house was a buzz, and the festivities in full swing.


As this morning’s reading plan took me through 1 John, I could not help but compare my kiddos’ excitement with the hope that we too should hold in that which is yet to come. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. – (1 John 3:2) Just as our boys did not know what the packages contained, they knew that their parents and grandma, who love them well, selected things for them with love. Likewise, as God’s children, though we have not yet seen Him, nor do not fully know Him, we know Jesus through His word and the revelation of His Holy Spirit, and all that we know, is indeed very good! May we go forth this day with the joy and hope of a child, as we embrace the greatest gift ever given – born to us, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.


With child-like faith,

Gram and the boys

My mom and the boys

on this holy day;

may we each embrace,

Christ’s coming to stay.

Born in a manger,

He quietly came;

the angelic hosts,

to shepherds proclaimed.

The magi too heard,

of the sacred birth;

they traveled so far,

to honor His worth.

They came bearing gifts,

and honored the King;

let us continue,

give our offerings.

May we give honor,

and all of our trust;

beloved Jesus,

the Lord God with us.


Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your one and only Son into the world, so that we could be restored to right relationship with You. Thank You that when we come to You and place our trust in You, You receive us as Your own. Thank You that You consider us Your children, and that You refine us and make us more like You. Forgive us for failing to seek You or choosing to not listen to Your leading. Help us to trust You more, so that we may clearly reflect Your love and light unto the world. Lead us to love as You love, and may many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth as Your children into the world. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

What Gift Shall I Give?

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. – (Matthew 2:11)


This verse is from Matthew’s account of when the Magi traveled to Bethlehem to see the child to whom the star had led them. Their journey had been long, yet they were overjoyed upon their arrival. Despite Jesus still being but a very small child, they bowed down before Him in worship. As wise men, it had been revealed to them, just how significant this toddler would become. Additionally, the treasures that were given, had symbolic significance that likely funded the family’s flight to Egypt and back. Gold was a gift for a king; incense, a gift for deity; and myrrh, a spice for a person who was going to die. – (NIV footnotes)


Though the Magi were men of great wisdom, they did not yet know the whole story. We have an advantage, as we have the greatest gift that has ever been given. That toddler, the baby Jesus whom the wise men worshiped and presented gifts to, grew into a man who paid the penalty for all of our sin. He lived a life that was without sin, yet clothed Himself with all the world’s sin and suffered on our behalf upon the cross, then rose again in power so that we too, could overcome the snares of sin. Because Jesus took our place, we have the hope of life everlasting with Him. When we come before Him, what gift can we give? Though He needs nothing from us, He longs for our hearts to seek after His. Our worship, our praise, our adoration, our days – these are the gifts that we can give… May we go forth this day as an offering unto Him, as He has already given us the greatest gift of all.


The greatest of gifts,What Gift Shall I Give

we’ve ever received;

was granted to us,

the day we believed.

For as we embraced,

the truth of Your grace;

You freed us from sin,

and removed disgrace.

How can we repay,

such a blessed gift?

There’s nothing You need,

all praises we lift.

Honor and glory,

and hearts that are true;

may we bring You praise,

in all that we do.


Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to come and make the way for us to be set free from sin and restored to right relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, for bearing all of our sin and shame upon the cross, and demonstrating Your power and glory so that we might receive the gift of Your grace and Your presence as we choose to believe. Forgive us for taking the greatest gift that we have ever been given for granted, and help us to seek to give You the gift of ourselves in return – our hearts, our hopes, our time, our worship – all unto You. Lead us to love people as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come to embrace the grace that You so lovingly and generously pour out upon all who are willing to receive. Be glorified, Lord God, as we give all of ourselves unto You. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

Perception vs. Reality

“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.  She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” – Luke 2:6-7Perception vs Reality

Mary and Joseph had each been visited by an angel, bearing news of the baby that Mary was to carry.  Imagine the care and concern taken as those two traveled in adherence to an order to take part in a census, many months after Mary had in obedience, said to the angel of God, “May it be so.”

Weary and worn, likely wracked by labor pains, they arrived to find that there was no room for them to stay, anywhere.  I imagine a kindly innkeeper took pity on the woman in pain, and pointed them to the place out back, where the animals were kept.

Perhaps grateful for a somewhat private place to push, baby Jesus was brought forth.  Though His arrival so humble, His significance shone above the earth as the angels spoke to the shepherds in the fields, and the star shone brightly before the magi.  The splendor of His majesty did shine, just not in a way that would be ordinary to man.

Swaddling the Savior, Mary treasured it all in her heart.  Though she knew not the full extent of the path that lay before her Son, she knew that she was holding God with us, as she loved baby Jesus with her whole heart.

His humble beginnings in a stinky stable grant grace and hope for us, and are a reminder that even when there seems to be no way, or the conditions seem to stink, He has a plan for us, and will make a way for His will to be done.

May our hearts come humbly before our King with thanksgiving, as we celebrate this eve of His blessed birth.  It was not merely the birth of a baby boy, but the birth of our Savior – the One who has made the way for us to be with Him forever!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your plans are perfect and ours are not.  Thank You that You show us again and again both throughout scripture and in our own lives, that You are love and You are good.  Forgive us for our doubts when things don’t appear as we think they ought to, and please remind us that Your plan is perfect, regardless of how we perceive it.  Be glorified in all that we say and do, and may many come close to You this Christmas.  Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Our Offering

“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 incense and of myrrh.” – Matthew 2:11

image by Contemplative Outreach of St. Louis

The “they” that is found in this passage were the Magi, or wise men, sent on ahead by King Herod to find the whereabouts of this child about whom the Scriptures had foretold.  When the Magi found Him, they did as was done in the presence of royalty, and they bowed down and worshipped Him.  Not only did they offer worship and make themselves low in posture (despite their lofty position in society), but they gave Him gifts that were worthy and appropriate, upon finding He who had been foretold as the coming King.  Even the gifts the Magi gave were significant – both symbolically and financially.  “Gold was a gift for a king; incense, a gift for deity; myrrh, a spice for a person who was going to die.  These gifts may have provided the financial resources for the trip to Egypt and back.” (NIV Study Bible footnotes)

When we approach the living God who came near and now dwells within us, how much more ought we bow down and worship Him, bringing our very best treasures to be trusted unto our Savior?

Do I think we are to always posture ourselves down low every time we come before Him?  No, physically it may or may not be possible in each moment that we call out to Him.  It seems that as long as we are posturing ourselves as such in our hearts, we are granting Him the rightful position of authority in our hearts and lives as God and King.  Do we see that He alone is worthy of our worship, and understand that He alone should sit on the throne to rule and reign in our lives?  Are we willing to offer ALL to Him, and allow Him to direct our path?

There is much we can learn from the Magi…

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You foretold of Your Son’s coming, created signs and wonders to show the way, and granted great wisdom to the gift givers so that they would return home by a different route, not disclosing the location of the infant King.  Lord, You alone are worthy of all of our worship, and to You, all our treasures are due.  Forgive us for allowing our treasure to be in anything other than You.  Please come and help our hearts to hear You, honor You, and may our every gift and offering give glory to You alone.  May we bring before You the very best that You have given in each of us, and my it be made worthy as we worship You alone.  Let our lives lived in reverence of You, reveal the reason You reign above all in heaven and on earth.  May many come to call You King, as even creation cries out of Your credentials as our Almighty.  Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present