The Magi were from outside the system. They were probably not Jews, but they may have had some familiarity with Old Testament prophecy. They came from the East. Perhaps in a bit of irony for us—from what is now Iraq.
They were probably not kings. Quite possibly, they were not even religious. They were men who studied the stars. They read the horoscopes daily. And because of this, they were at least modestly aware of something spiritual.
The Magi were quite possibly like many people you and I know. They had a vague awareness that there is more to life than we can see. But they had not yet seen “it.”
Have you seen it?
In a recent Bizarro Cartoon, a Christmas announcer is saying: “And verily I say unto thee that the world will celebrate this day with images of snow and sleighs and elves and evergreens and flying livestock….”
So much gets in the way of the story teller’s message—and the message of almost every holy season.
What is it about our culture that makes it so difficult to be truly spiritual? What makes the spiritual dimensions of life so difficult to find? Possessions? Investments? Tight schedules? Holding down two or more jobs? Our bent toward rational explanations for everything? Greed?
What interrupts the positive power of contemplation and joyful reflection? The factuality of the Magi story is unclear. The power of the message is very clear: the three men were changed. They might have left the Nativity scene saying (or reflecting inwardly), “I think we may have seen the face of God and it’s not over yet.”
I pray this is the way in which you enter this New Year. Because of Christmas, we have seen a glimpse of God. Because we believe, we walk a new journey.
I invite you into the Epiphany story and its deeper meaning. I invite you to lead others into that deeper meaning. When you see something of Jesus—simply, powerfully, definitively--you walk a new journey.