Dec. 20, 2016

Matthew 2:1-12

In Russian Christmas tradition is the story of a woman named Babushka. One evening, Babushka was busy dusting and cleaning—so busy that she didn't hear all the villagers outside in the village square talking about and looking at the new star in the sky.

She had heard about the new star but thought, "I don't even have the time to look because I'm so behind with my work. I must work all night!" So, she missed the star as it shone brightly, high overhead. Then there was a loud knocking on her front door.

As she opened the door, Babushka gaped in amazement. There were three kings at her door with one of their servants! "My masters need a place to rest," the servant said, "and yours is the best house in the village." Babushka welcomed the kings into her home.

She dashed about, serving them. Then Babushka asked, “Where are you going?" "We're following the new star,” they said. The kings said the star would lead them to a new-born king, a King of Earth and Heaven. "Why don't you come with us?" they asked. "You could bring him a gift like we do. I bring gold, and my colleagues bring spices and perfumes." "Oh, I'm not sure that he would welcome me," said Babushka. Balthasar stopped her as she went to tidy the kitchen up. "This new king could be your king too. Come with us when the star appears tonight," he said. "I'll think about it," sighed Babushka. Eventually, Babushka missed seeing the newborn King. It’s said that she still looks for him.

On July 8 of this year, Russian president Vladimir Putin approved a package of anti-terrorism laws that usher in tighter restrictions on missionary activity and evangelism. The amendments include laws against sharing faith in homes, online, or anywhere but recognized church buildings. Facing increasing pressures, Christianity makes up one percent of the Russian population.

Today, pray the people of Russia won’t miss seeing the King—hearing and accepting the good news of Jesus. Pray for the missionaries in this country who, despite these barriers, seek to meet needs, build relationships, and lead people to a saving faith in Christ. Pray also for us, God’s people in the United States, who are surrounded by busy people who need to know the Christ of Christmas. Spend time praying God would open your eyes to those around you who need to know the hope of Jesus today. Pray God would give you opportunities to share him today.