After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the territory of Judea during the rule of King Herod, magi came from the east to Jerusalem. They asked, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We’ve seen his star in the east, and we’ve come to honor him.” When King Herod heard this, he was troubled, and everyone in Jerusalem was troubled with him. He gathered all the chief priests and the legal experts and asked them where the Christ was to be born. They said, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is what the prophet wrote: You, Bethlehem, land of Judah, by no means are you least among the rulers of Judah, because from you will come one who governs, who will shepherd my people Israel.” Then Herod secretly called for the magi and found out from them the time when the star had first appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you’ve found him, report to me so that I too may go and honor him.”
We are not sure if there were three wise men. There is not much that we know about them. That is why we have so many names for them like the three wise men, the three kings, or the three magi. One thought is that they were priests from Persia (modern-day Iran) known to search for divine messages by looking at the arrangement of stars in the sky. The wise men saw the light in the sky. And they believed they had received a divine message that something extraordinary was happening. And it was not happening where they were. They followed that light from Persia, perhaps, to Bethlehem in Israel. According to Google Maps, that’s 1,373 miles and would take 450 hours to walk. Even for us modern people, it would take 28 hours in a car.
What signs are you seeing that extraordinary things are happening? Where does God want to lead you? And what would it take to get you to go on that journey?
God, give me eyes to see the signs. Signs that point to your love and the wonders that you work in the world today. Send your signs so that I may know your grace and love and send me out to be a sign of that grace and love to others. Amen.