“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem…”
We have been looking at the Christmas season through the eyes of doctor Luke whose target audience is the Gentiles. He traces genealogy back to Adam and not Abraham. He brings common people like Anna and Simeon into an unfolding story. It is the apostle Matthew who is generally considered to be speaking to the Jews, who starts his gospel with a genealogy going back to Abraham and tells the Christmas narrative through Joseph. He does not mention stables, census or sheep. Matthew jumps from Joseph obeying the angel who told him not to be afraid to take Mary…so he did…to Magi. No Bethlehem story! In chapter 2, Matthew tells the story of the Magi. Thursday this week is Epiphany that celebrates their lives.
The Magi are a game changer. Matthew has shot us from a stable to a more global story. How far east is not important. These Magi are not Jewish religious figures. They are not under the Abrahamic covenant as far as we can tell. They are Gentiles like most of us. God is working outside the box of our imagination. We later learn that Herod ordered the death of children under age two who might be this “new king” so their story started in the past but, for today, we are reminded that God is working in ways we cannot even imagine with other people’s story lines that are set in motion before our crisis impacts their lives. These Magi are not anticipated, are probably foreign, and their lives are in motion to intersect with the Christmas narrative. Isaiah 55:8 reminds us
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
Yesterday I watched the Rose Parade whose theme was: “Dream. Believe. Achieve.” Float after floral float, bands and horse groups encouraged us to have hope in the future. Next year will be better than last because we have built on our past and look to the future creative ability of people. One float had a little child looking into a mirror, envisioning becoming a dancer that now can happen because of the advances of medicine. The journey of the Magic is a journey into a dream, into a belief, in an attempt to achieve. They are searching for the promised new king that will bring hope for the future.
So what is your journey this year? What are you questing for and where will you look? The Magi followed a star that led them and us to new adventures, not necessarily of personal achievement but and adventure of faith. God is working in ways we do not see to bring about a future we do not anticipate. It is a journey but let us like the Magi, keep our eyes, not on a mirror about self but on the star and the word of God. Blessings.