By now most people have taken down their Christmas decorations, including their manger scenes. If you're in the process of de-Christmas-ing, may I propose you leave out the wise men and their camels for a couple more weeks?
According to the Bible, the wise men had come from a great distance by following a star right into the city of Jerusalem, where they asked King Herod about the Messiah's birth. You see, there's a fascinating prediction tucked away in the pages of Isaiah. I'm sure these magi knew about these words there:
"Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you....The wealth of the nations will come to you. A multitude of camels will cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba will come; they will bring gold and frankincense, and will bear good news of the praises of the LORD" (Isaiah 60:1-6).
Sound familiar? Wise men on camels coming from afar bringing gifts?
By the time these wise men found Jesus, months had passed since His birth. He and His parents were living in a house in Bethlehem, about five miles from Herod's palace in Jerusalem. Just as foretold, the visitors gave the family gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Herod was probably enraged at the thought of another king, a messiah, threatening his throne. Surely when he asked the wise men to bring him news of the baby king, he had evil intentions.
The wise men and Joseph had dreams that night, warning them of danger and the need to flee from Herod. Joseph took Mary and baby Jesus and left early the next morning, fleeing toward Egypt. The wise men shrewdly found an alternate route back toward the East. They avoided passing through Jerusalem and meeting with Herod.
Joseph and Mary were young and poor. To flee to Egypt on foot would be comparable today to making a journey halfway around the world. Their trip would be costly, but now they had the financial resources (the gifts) to cover their needs while on the road and to enable them to comfortably relocate.
God met their needs, just in time.
Are you concerned about your finances? Do your bills seem to be piling up? Life seems so uncertain at times. However, the story of the wise men can remind us that God sees and knows our every need. We can love Him and hold tightly to Him, and He can be trusted to provide whatever we need.
He provided for Jesus; He will provide for you.
And, He will do it just in time.