In contrast to Luke–our more familiar Christmas gospel–Matthew’s story of Jesus’ birth (2:1-12) is both chilling and mysterious. We find no shepherds and angels, no Mary and Joseph seeking shelter, not even a babe in a manger. Instead, we have a story of vicious court intrigue, abuse of power by a nervous despot, genocide, and families forced into exile. And we also find the Magi, or “wise men.”
Who were these Magi, and what does their pilgrimage to Bethlehem mean? These questions we will consider in our worship on Sunday, Jan. 4. An important point to note is that the Magi were spiritual outsiders, ethnic foreigners, Gentiles, and pagan believers. Today we might call them “non-Christians.” Yet it is they, and not the “true-believers,” who are the first to find and worship the new-born Christ.
How might this happen today—seekers of truth, outside the boundaries of the Christian faith, following their own “star,” discovering Jesus? How might such spiritual foreigners lead insider-believers to the light of God?