Sunday, December 23, 2018

Advent Words: X is for Xenos

X is for Xenos

Today's passages are Matthew 2:1-12 and Ephesians 2:12-19.

The word xenos is a Greek word that means alien, stranger, or foreigner. It can also mean host and hospitable. Today's passages give us two examples of xenos in the Bible.

First, we have the part of Matthew's Christmas story that highlights the Magi, also known as the three wise men. Matthew tells us that these three wise men were foreigners from the east, believed to be from Persia or even the Orient. The Magi were known to be scholars of astronomy and religious prophecies, and may have been Gentiles. So Matthew begins the story of Jesus' birth with a visit from foreign unbelievers who followed a bright star in search of answers to ancient prophecies of a king who would be born to the Jews. God led them to the promised king - the Christ child - by a star.

Three times in this passage, Matthew 2:1-12, the word worship is used. First, in verse 2, we are told that these wise men came specifically to find and worship the one "born king of the Jews". It is amazing that these men from a foreign land would come with the purpose of worshiping Jesus! It also seems to be a message to God's purpose and plan, as we see at the end of Matthew's Gospel that Jesus' last words to his disciples are His commission to "go and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). Both at the beginning and the end of Matthew's Gospel he makes it clear that God's sending of the Messiah is for all the nations.

The second time the word worship is used is in verse 8, where King Herod falsely says he will worship this baby king if the Magi return and tell him where the baby can be found. King Herod feels his reign is threatened by the news of this baby king, but God intervenes and sends an angel to speak to the wise men to return to their home by a different route

Thirdly, in verses 10-11, we see that when they came to the place where the star was overhead, they were overjoyed! They had found the baby king, the Messiah, and they "bowed down and worshiped him" and presented Him with gifts. These foreigners had no doubt who Jesus was.

"Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker!" Psalm 95:6

A second place xenos is used shows that we also, were once considered foreigners in God's kingdom. Paul makes it clear in Ephesians 2:12-19, that those who are separated from Christ, described as those "without hope and without God", are foreigners to the covenants of the promise, God's blessings. But that "in Christ" a foreigner is brought near to God - reconciled - through the blood of Christ. In Christ, we have peace with God and we become a part of God's family! We join the Magi and bow down before the Christ King and worship Him!

Today is the fourth Sunday of Advent. Today we light the Candle of Love. My collage for the fourth Sunday will be on tomorrow's post.

Share your creative response to the Advent Words challenge in our private Facebook group  Join here:

If you belong to the Everyday Journal group that I co-lead with Valerie Sjodin and Bernice Hopper, Advent Words will be our theme for December.

Share on Instagram and other social media with the hashtag #adventwords2018.

Check out my Pinterest board for this challenge and see some of the wonderful and diverse creativity of Advent Words 2018 participants.

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