Last time we looked at the shepherds, wondering what they could teach us. Now we are headed to the other end of the cultural spectrum to the Magi. A few picky details to clear up: they were probably not kings. Most likely they are Persian astrologers. We donâ€™t know how many of them there were, but three gifts are mentioned – gold, frankincense (incense), and myrrh (perfume).
Talking about the Magi pushes the boundaries for thinking about Advent, because the Magi donâ€™t enter into the story until almost two years after Jesus is born. King Herod inquires of the Magi the time of the appearance of the star, and when he commands that the infants be killed, it is those male infants two years old and younger. The coming of the Magi is observed on January 6 â€“ Epiphany.
What is of interest to us is the fact that when they inquire of Herod they say, â€œWhere is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship himâ€ (Matt 2:2). They were astrologers, after all, and kept their eyes to the sky. There has been much discussion over the years of what they actually saw. A comet is a common depiction of the event. Some have speculated it was a rare conjunction (several planets being in close proximity in the sky). Whatever it was, they noticed!
We can benefit from noticing a few things ourselves: [Read more…] about Supporting Cast to the Christmas Story: The Magi