Still Proceeding

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O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to Thy perfect light

 

 

Christmas carols have always been a mysterious phenomenon to me. They contain clear, sometimes deep and complicated expressions of the Christian faith that are nonetheless a part of secular society because they are … well … Christmas carols. They are a part of the Christmas tradition everyone seems to accept. There’s more theology crammed into just one of these carols than in most sermons, and yet you can hear them in supermarkets, restaurants, Christmas shows, and from carolers on your front lawn.

My father was a choir director when I was a kid and the choir used to sing carols in department stores and hotel lobbies throughout Pasadena, California. The most memorable was on Christmas Day. We would have our Christmas early and then meet up with the choir at the stately Huntington Hotel where the football players from the Big 10 team that was represented that year in the Rose Bowl game on New Year’s Day were already in town getting ready for the big game. The choir would carol in the lobby, but always go up and down the hallways of the rooms where the players were staying and many of them would come to their doors expressing great emotion upon hearing the music and missing being home for Christmas. We usually met the visiting coaches: Woody Hayes … Duffy Daugherty.

We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star

Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again
King forever, ceasing never
Over us all to reign

This, of course, is the song of the wise men. They were far from home too. They had come to pay homage to a king represented in the heavens by a star that directed them to the place where Jesus was living. And when they arrived, they brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, each one symbolic of this God/man/child and what He was here to do. Gold represented His kingship; frankincense, His priestly role; and myrrh, as an embalming oil, foreshadowed the importance of His death.

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes of life of gathering gloom
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb

Not for long, however, for this little carol doesn’t miss His resurrection.

Glorious now behold Him arise
King and God and Sacrifice
Alleluia, Alleluia
Earth to heav’n replies

From child to risen Lord, from baby to king, from death to life — how glorious and bright He shines! So many missed it. The unlikely kings from the unlikely East got it. Ones you wouldn’t expect. Astrologers. Eastern mystics. Kings who studied the world and came up with the most important event in human history. While others slept on, these guys kept on. And as this song plays on in shopping malls and supermarkets, listen for it. Find it out in the world, just where we find Christ, today. Worship in the world where many are still seeking Him — still proceeding. Who are the unlikely kings today?

ADVENT QUESTION (Marti wants to know…)

Are you one of the Kings today?  If yes, tell us about your journey, and if no, why not? 

ADVENT CONVERSATIONS:

  • Share you answers below.
  • Post and Tweet a question on your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
  • Use #CatchAdvent.
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2 Responses to Still Proceeding

  1. Sandie says:

    As a young believer it was impressed on me, that to become a mature Christian I needed to know my bible inside and out. And so began a years-long endeavor to absorb as much biblical knowledge as I could. Being an avid reader, it was fairly easy for me…but… all I wound up with was a lot of knowledge…which I fervently used to browbeat non-believers. (Truthfully, I think some poor souls accepted Jesus just to get me off their back!). All this knowledge did nothing to grow my heart and spirit. Then I set my sights on what was truly important…who IS this man Jesus? The more I discovered HIM, the more I understood about myself…the more I understood myself, the more I needed to discover about Him…and so the story of my Christian walk goes. I know that, this side of Heaven, I will NEVER know everything about Him – nor will I EVER understand completely the things I do know…and I am peacefully OK with that. That Christmas Card greeting is true…”WISE MEN STILL SEEK HIM!” Christmas blessings to all!

    • Mark Seguin says:

      Sandie:I go a laugh over this: “…I think some poor souls accepted Jesus just to get me off their back!” Me too I think/believe a few people prayed the prayer of salvation for the weight lost program, to get me off of their back. LOL 🙂

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