PDF of Study Guide available HERE

One Christmas when I was six or seven years old we celebrated at my grandmother’s house.  This was a long time a ago and gifts were much less extravagant in the 1970’s, but that Christmas made an impression upon my young mind. My Grandmother had given all of my aunts and my mother some new undergarments, and the festivities that followed reinforced my childish assumption that grown ups were crazy.  Of course, now that I am grown, I realize that I was correct. 

Gift-giving is a wonderful expression of love and appreciation. And, of course, the Christmas gifts that we share have their roots in the Christmas story.  We see the Wise Men giving gifts to Jesus and His Family.  But the greatest gift of all is the Gift God has given us in Jesus.  By giving us His own Son, God has give us the only Answer that we will ever truly need. 

Governments Are Not the Answer.

This is not meant to encourage distrust or any kind of discontent. And we need to contribute our energies and our opinions to our government now more than ever, because good government is a blessing.  The very rich life you live in the US is afforded you because of the benefits of our government. Did you know that if you own a car you are wealthier than 90 to 95% of the world?

When the Magi came to Jerusalem to find the Messiah, Herod helped them. He pulled together his experts and gave these travelers the correct answer. It is not until later that we find out that he had an ulterior motive.

Matthew 2:4 NLT He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said

Wise Men Are Not the Answer.

Matthew 2:1-2 (NLT) Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2 “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose,  and we have come to worship him.”

The Wise Men and their entourage are believed to have been influenced by the work of Daniel and of the Old Testament scriptures that would have survived in ancient Babylon as a remnant of the 70 years Israel spent in captivity.  Upon their arrival in Jerusalem, I wonder that they might have been surprised to find that they were the only ones who knew of the Messiah’s arrival.

Wise Men already know that they are NOT the answer. It is a true wisdom to understand that we do not possess enough of our own wisdom, strength, and experience to be our own answer in this life.  As the old saying goes, “Wise men still seek Him.”  Do we have the wisdom to know that we are not our own answer? Can we see that we NEED an answer?

Jesus is the Answer!

Matthew 1:23 (NLT) “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”

John 3:16 (NLT) “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

We seldom take time to allow the questions of our heart to surface.  Questions like, “Am I Alone?” “Am I worth anything?” “Why am I here?”  Our story started in a Garden that was perfect. It was a Place of unity, perfect love, and communion with God, our Father. But it was ruined, it was broken by a lie and an act of betrayal. That truly horrific day ended with us walking out on God, but it also ended with a promise.

Genesis 3:15 (NLT) And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”

It probably doesn’t sound like a promise at first, but it is. It is the promise that a virgin would give birth to a Champion who would overcome everything and give His victory to us. Because of His triumph, we are no longer slaves or failures.  Because of His generous gift toward us, we are not condemned, bankrupt, or alone.

The day we accept Jesus as our Answer will be the day we stop trying to find the many answers that do not exist.

  • Read Matthew 2:1-2. Why do you think the Wise Men were willing to commit so much time to come and meet Jesus? What does this teach us about how we give of our time?
  • What are some practical ways you can give the gift of time to people in your life?
  • Read Matthew 2:7-8. Why do you think the Wise Men knew that the Christ had been born and the Jewish experts did not?
  • What are some ways we miss God’s surprises?  How might we recognize them in the future?
  • Read Matthew 2:9-11. Why do you think the Wise Men gave gifts that were both valuable and meaningful? What does this teach us about the gifts we give to people?
  • Read 1 Peter 1:18-19.  What does God think you are worth? Discuss with your group.
  • Read Matthew 2:11. What motivated these Wise Men, who were highly respected in their culture, do bow down and worship the shall child Jesus? 
  • What stops us from worshiping Jesus the way he deserves at Christmas, and the rest of the year?
  • What are some practical examples of ways we can share Jesus as the Answer with someone?