As amazing as the visit from the Magi was mind blowing for Mary and Joseph, I can’t imagine how mind blowing it was for the Magi themselvs.
After all, they were from another culture. Their kings are born in palaces, not of humble means. They served powerful men who ruled through war and domination, not babies. They valued education, exploration, scientific studies, not the simple mindedness of a child.
And yet, this is where their journey across miles and miles has ended. It wasn’t what they expected, and yet, it was what they received.
They made a choice.
They had seen a new star in the heavens, sparking curiosity. What did it mean? It was a choice for them to share their curiosity with other Magi. It was a choice for them to pack up their animals for the trip, to follow the star wherever it would lead. It was a choice for them to go to the bank (or it’s equivalent) and then to the market to buy supplies as well as gifts for those they may encounter on the journey. They kissed their loved ones and said their goodbyes, headed for the unknown.
It was a choice for them each day, each night, to not loose heart, to follow the star. They made observations, charted the course. It took them into unknown territory.
And it took courage to follow the star. Would the people they met be friend or foe? Would robbers meet them on the trial and strip them of their goods or life?
It took perseverance to follow the star. As they entered Herod’s palace, where they thought they would find answers, they found ignorance and insecurity. I’m sure Herod put on quite a show for his foreign visitors, trying to impress them with his wealth, power, knowledge. He may not have even noticed the new star himself. Surely he had not questioned it. Through research, spurred by the Magi, his wise men found answers.
But Herod did not choose to go.
He stayed in his palace, in the midst of his unbelief. Instead of curiosity, he chose comfort. He chose to not believe.
The Magi pressed forward, with new information, until they found themselves in a small village, in the presence of a humble family holding a baby, in the presence of an unknown, unrecognized, king.
I wonder what that moment was like?
In my mind, I feel a moment of silent recognition. This is it. This is the meaning of the star. All the desires, all the hard work, all the expense, all the hard choices collide in this one moment, in this one place. They are awestruck.
What was knowledge became reality.
What was knowledge became extremely personal.
They didn’t walk away just knowing an answer. No, they bowed their knee in respect, in devotion, in deep admiration for the miracle they were beholding. After all, a new sign had been in the heavens, out of man’s control. It had heralded a new age, a new kingdom, lead by a baby.
They had chosen to follow the star.