Day of the Kings
Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem, in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. At about that time some astrologers from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, "Where is the newborn King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in far-off eastern lands, and have come to worship him."
King Herod was deeply disturbed by their question, and all Jerusalem was filled with rumors. He called a meeting of the Jewish religious leaders.
"Did the prophets tell us where the Messiah would be born?" he asked.
"Yes, in Bethlehem," they said, "for this is what the prophet Micah wrote:
'O little town of Bethlehem, you are not just an unimportant Judean village, for a Governor shall rise from you to rule my people Israel.' "
Then Herod sent a private message to the astrologers, asking them to come and see him; at this meeting he found out from them the exact time when they first saw the star. Then he told them, "Go to Bethlehem and search for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him too!"
After this interview the astrologers started out again. And look! The star appeared to them again, standing over Bethlehem. Their joy knew no bounds!
Entering the house where the baby and Mary his mother were, they threw themselves down before him, worshiping. Then they opened their presents and gave him gold, frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2: 1-11 (TLB)
Douglas Wingert lives in Arizona. On January 6th of each year. many of his neighbors across the border in Mexico celebrate "Dia de los Reyes," or "Day of the Kings." This holiday is a celebration of the faithfulness of the magi and of the generous gifts they brought to the Christ Child.
But who were these magi who were searching for the King of the Jews? Were they really kings or royalty from other kingdoms? Were they astrologers or nomads? Were there only three? Did they travel with a caravan for safety? And why is it the Matthew is the only one of the Gospels to tell this story of faith and hope?
What is clear to Douglas is the deep faith of the magi, who ere willing to leave their homes and travel far, believing the truth of a prophecy and following a moving star. When the star finally led them to Bethlehem, they humbly presented their gifts and worshiped the child, the promised Messiah.
So whether we celebrate January 6th as the ending of the 12 days of Christmas, or in recognition of the journey of the magi, or as Epiphany - the revealing of Christ's birth to the world - it is a special time to celebrate faith, love, and hope in the promises of God.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift the magi gave to us - their story of faith. Strengthen our faith so that we also are willing to journey into the unknown to seek our Savior. In his name we pray. Amen.