Sometimes you hear a set of facts that completely changes the way that you see the world. For example, Beethoven and George Washington were alive at the same time; George Washington was in his forties when Beethoven was born.
Or what about the fact that in your colorful bowl of Fruit Loops cereal, all of those circles taste the same. The color doesn’t matter.
Or what about the fact that the Egyptian pyramids were as old to the Romans as the Romans are to us.
So, it might blow your mind to know that the Wise Men were not at the Manger. And to make matters worse, there could have been two or dozens of Magi from the East that sought the Child. We assume three Wise Guys since there were three gifts presented.
Yep, all of our Nativity scenes are misleading. But before you toss them out, let’s understand the dynamics at play in this story.
These Magi from the East most likely came several months and up to two years after Jesus’ birth. They were astrologers that notice inconsistencies in the night sky. They were drawn by an unusual star that seemed to hang over the atmosphere in the West.
However, their original traveling purpose was altered when they discovered prophecies of a righteous messiah to be born. They investigated and followed the leads that led them to a remarkable encounter with a holy child. We learn that they are so overwhelmed by this moment that they present gifts fit for a king.
In the church tradition, we call this Epiphany, a season of God revealing God’s self. Represented in the experience of the Magi from the East, Epiphany is a time of wonder, awe, and new understanding.
In the same way that their encounter with a young Jesus transformed these astrologers, we, too, can be regenerated and renewed through God’s abiding presence within us.
We, too, have the opportunity to present Jesus with remarkable gifts. Instead of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, may we present to Jesus ourselves just as we are. May we give him our mind, heart, and soul with all of our strength and know that he will transform us into something new.
One final note: Don’t get rid of our Nativity scene. Maybe place the Wise Men a proportional distance away from the Manger scene as it correlates to their months up to two years arrival to see Jesus.