Pastors Corner


Can you say, “Happy Holidays” and still confess your Christian faith? Yes!! The origin of the word “holiday” is “ hâligdæeg” which is an old English word meaning “holy day “ . So proudly tell people, “Happy Holy days”!!! People outside of the state will just think you pronounce your “o”’s like Minnesotans or Canadians.

Does your family observe the "Twelve Days of Christmas”? It is a festive period marking the days between Christmas and the Epiphany. During this time, people often engage in festivities, gift-giving, and celebration, culminating in the recognition of the arrival of the Magi to see the baby Jesus. Holy Days indeed!!

The gospel of Luke records the conception of Jesus Christ in Luke 1:26-56 and His birth in Luke 2:1-7. Eight days later according to Mosaic custom, Jesus was taken to the temple to be circumcised and given His name. Then 40 days after His birth, He was taken to the temple and dedicated to God in obedience to Leviticus 12:4-5. Some time after that, the wise men or magi visited Christ (Matthew 2:1-11). The answer to the question is found in Matthew 2:1, 11 and 16.

The gospel of Luke tells us that Jesus Christ was born in a manger because His parents could not stay in the master bedroom(likely because there were elderly relatives that needed the master bedroom). When we think of Jesus being born in a barn it may be because we are enough generations removed from living structures that include man and beast under one roof. I was told by my Grandma that when she was young she asked her Grandma if she would want to go back to Germany and was told no because at the end of their time in Germany the wall that separated the animals and the humans in the house was no longer functional.

And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn(καταλύματι) Luke 2:7 The Greek word for manger(φάτνῃ)means “a box or crib where animals feed.

Luke 2:8-21 tells us that an angel spoke to some shepherds who then visited Jesus after He was born that evening.

The gospel of Matthew tells us that later some magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem asking where would the king of the Jews be born. (Matthew 2:1-3) The Roman governor, Herod the Great, asked the Jewish chief priests and scribes where He would be born. After the Jewish chief priests and scribes searched the Scriptures they told Herod and the magi the Christ would be born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:4-8).

The magi followed the light in the sky. It led them to the city of Bethlehem and to the place where Jesus was living with His parents.

After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:11

Verse 11 states that Jesus was living in a house. This reveals that Jesus’ parents had moved to a house. Contrary to popular nativity scenes and paintings, Christ was now living in a house when the magi visited Him. His parents had moved from the location of the manger to this house. There were no shepherds or angels when the magi stopped to worship Him and give Him gifts.

Verses 13-14 state that the magi left and Joseph was warned in a dream to take his family to Egypt. It is difficult to know how much time had elapsed between the magi’s arrival in Jerusalem and their visit to the house. But it is highly unlikely that the events happened quickly.

Matthew 2:16 tells us that when Herod realized that the magi had not returned to tell him the exact location of where the Christ was living, he ordered every child two years old and younger to be murdered.

Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi. Matthew 2:16

Verse 16 and verse 2 tell us that Herod the Great had determined that the magi had seen the star two years earlier. Consequently, Herod murdered all children from two years of age and under. This would reveal that Jesus was about two years of age when the magi visited Him.

The gospel of Matthew reveals that Jesus was about two years of age when the wise men or magi visited Him. It is amazing all the information that Scripture gives us. In this case, the age of Christ is important since the information helps us understand the fulfillment of a prophecy in Jeremiah. Matthew 2:17 quotes Jeremiah 31:15

Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled:

A voice was heard in Ramah,

weeping and great mourning,

Rachel weeping for her children;

and she refused to be comforted,

because they are no more(Matthew 2:17).

Matthew 2:17 helps understand why young children were murdered in the prophecy of Jeremiah 31:15.

I am not telling you to take down the wisemen from your nativity set but this year keep your tree and nativity sets out until Epiphany to celebrate that us Gentiles, like the Magi, have a part in the salvation that Jesus, the King of the Jews has brought for all. Happy Holy Days!!! “