Today, we look at the story of Christmas from the perspective of the Magi. The story is very familiar to us, but read it with new eyes; look for little details you probably did not notice before.
Matthew 12: 1-12
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.
When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.
“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.
On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
As you read the passage again, imagine yourself being one of the magi and try to ask yourself one of the questions below:
1. What treasure–the symbol of the best you can offer at this point in your life–do you bring before the King?
2. Imagine the journey to be fraught with danger–you leave the safety of home, you travel through places of wild animals and unpredictable weather. You make mistakes, like asking the wrong guy (Herod) for information. What kind of journey are you going through right now? Have you come to a point of giving up? If there’s anything you learned from this story, it is that while the journey is difficult and full of mistakes, you will still end up meeting the newborn King you seek.
3. At the end of the meeting, God tells you not to return to how you know the world, but to travel life by another way. The journey is never just about meeting the King, but changed by Him, to journey back to your home via a new way. The old is gone. Life will never be the same again. What new ways of doing things are you invited to begin at this point in your life?
[Thanks to Fr. Oliver Dy, SJ, for the inspiration.]