As I decorated for the Christmas season, I unpacked the Nativity scene. I carefully took each piece out and arranged them in the stable, except for baby Jesus and the three kings. It was a tradition with my children to wait and put baby Jesus out on Christmas Day, and the three kings at Epiphany. Now I look forward to doing this same tradition with my grandchildren. This year as I took the kings out and placed them in the drawer, for now, I began to think about them and the journey that led them to meet the baby Jesus. What would make them travel all that way? At that time, it was thought a new star or some other sign would come with the birth of a new king. So when the Magi saw a new star, they thought it was a sign that a newborn king of the Jews had arrived. They thought perhaps Herod welcomed a new child. So as a gesture of courtesy, they decided to make the trip to welcome the new child.
I wonder how they felt when they arrived in Jerusalem and found no new king in the palace? They found Herod upset at the news and wanting to find out who this new child was. Herod asked the Magi to go and find this new child and report back to him. They sensed Herod was planning something. The encounter with Herod still weighing on their minds, they were wary of what they found. Mary welcomed them but she may have been puzzled by the arrival of these kings who had traveled to meet her newborn son. They listened to Mary’s story and then shared with her that Herod had asked them to seek her newborn baby out. Hearing her story, they were deeply affected. They understood the truth about who God is and how he had come to save his people. They had found the true newborn king of the Jews, their lives would never be the same.
In a sense, the Magi could represent us. Our lives are journeys, too. God is calling us to meet Jesus each day of our lives. We must share with him what is in our hearts, our struggles, our blessings and our questions. The Magi worshiped the baby Jesus after realizing who he really was and why he had come. We must strive to give him our lives. He came to save us, a true King who loves us and shows us mercy. Mary tells us that Jesus loves us so much that he will die on a cross for us. Our road of faith may be hard at times, but our sacrifices will be worth it. Jesus is worthy of our praise.
I hope that Christmas will fill us with joy and maybe surprise us in some way. We are on a journey; we have taken time during Advent to reflect on the hope that comes with the birth of Jesus. Let him strengthen your faith; show him your gratefulness with your actions, and let him move your heart. We will not receive the gifts of gold, frankincense or myrrh; but we will receive the gift of God’s love for us. Let your journey move you to worship God in the way he deserves. Take time to look at the figures in the Nativity scene and remember the role each had on that beautiful night when Jesus was born. And as you wait for the Magi to arrive, reflect on their “change of heart” when they arrived at that simple place, realizing what their journey truly was. “Come let us adore him!”