Each week during Advent (the 4-week season leading up to Christmas), we have journeyed toward Bethlehem. We’ve lit candles on our Advent wreath to remind us of the gifts Christ offers: Peace, Hope, Love. We’ve listened to the story of Mary as she learns of the child to whom she will give birth and raise. We’ve heard the story of Joseph as he adopts Jesus and raises him as his own.
Before we join with the shepherds at the manger on Christmas Eve, I want us to journey with the Magi.
A few notes on the Magi.
- They are not kings. That title comes from a song, not the Bible.
- There are not necessarily three of them. They bring three gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
- They may not all be men. The Greek grammar assumes at least one of them is male; there could be women among them.
- They don’t arrive on Christmas Day. If you follow the Christian calendar, the Magi usually arrive on January 6 Epiphany. Most theologians claim that the Magi don’t arrive until two years after Jesus’ birth (Matthew 2:16), when Jesus and his family live in a house (Matthew 2:9).
I want us to hear the story of the Magi before Christmas this year, because they have something to teach us.
Like all of us, the Magi are on a journey – a spiritual journey. They long for something greater than themselves; they long for the heavens to reveal something about the world and their lives; they embark on a journey that initially reaches a dead-end. Yet they continue to search and eventually find their souls “overwhelmed with joy.”
If you are looking for meaning this Christmas. If you want something that is more real than real, the Magi have something to teach us about how to live on a journey of faith – a journey toward a child who offers the world (and us) Joy.
Join us for worship this week as we listen to the story of the Magi and recognize what they teach us about our own spiritual journey today.