No one is born in a vacuum. Each of us enters the world with a dated historical backdrop and cultural setting, a pervasive world view, a uniquely personal environment. Consider the recent experience of Prince William and Princess Kate. Not just they but their nation and the world (including ourselves) waited in expectation. Frenzied paparazzi, talk show hosts, news headlines, and magazines publicly exposed every detail they could muster before the baby’s birth. Then the moment arrived. Their baby boy was born. The announcement went global. And, before the little prince even had a name, he had a title – newest successor, third in line to the British throne — a title universally acknowledged.
Matthew’s Magi story resembles a valued verbal patchwork quilt, stitched with intricate symbolism, each square connecting a new sub-plot in present-tense to antiquity. Each detail depicts the baby’s birth and identity as fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. Every detail theologically suggests that this baby’s coming – his birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection – has universal significance.
The Magi’s journey continued until the star rested over the place where the young child was. As the Star proclaimed the birth announcement to the world, these foreigners in answer to their question, arrived at their destination and prepared to worship him. At that moment, the Magi became symbols of Christ’s coming to redeem everyone, everywhere, Jews and Gentiles alike. Kneeling in awe, they were able at last to worship the Child whom they had sought so long — the Child swaddled in thousands of years of Jewish lineage, tradition, prophecy, and expectation; the Child born with titles, “King of the Jews”, “Messiah”, “Anointed One of God”; the Child we call Jesus.
During this season, when we ask Where Is He?, may we be guided by Magi Moments…that move us beyond our doorstep and comfort zones, to embrace the world’s people;…that convince us it’s not too late to get back on track when lost, confused, or helplessly in the wrong place;
… that enable us to overcome and outsmart those whose cruel, manipulative tactics would distract and divert us from our purpose;
…that encourage us to recognize and follow our Star-signs when they appear –a friend’s outstretched hand, a family member’s hug, a supportive listening ear, a new direction, when that is what’s needed;
…that renew daily our spirit of reverence, preparing us for worship — when we find Him.