After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him… they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him… And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. – Matthew 2:1-12
As someone who spent two decades as a public school teacher, and my entire adult life leading discipleship classes and small groups, I have developed considerable interest in the learning process.
I am convinced more than ever that an ongoing, lifelong education is the key to real freedom. But I also believe it is more important to give people the tools with which to discover knowledge than it is to spoon feed them “settled facts” they are required to regurgitate on command.
Our world is suffering for want of Magi:
What we need is less willful ignorance and more searching for wisdom. Our world is suffering for want of Magi. We could use a visit from the Wise Men, along with some Wise Women too. We need to learn from the Magi.
These wise folk from the east were on a quest for knowledge, a search for enlightenment – what they found was Jesus.
In our house you can find Magi all over the place. They tend to disappear and reappear, showing up in curious places, but always moving on toward Bethlehem.
I know people – often young people – who have become disenchanted with trite and convenient answers, surface-level thinking, and the unwillingness to engage hard questions that is often associated with Christianity. To them I would say “Remember the Magi.” Any honest journey toward knowledge will always lead back to Jesus; because while Jesus is very much “The Answer” he is not an easy answer so much as he is “The Way.”
After they found Jesus the wise people “left by another route.” But I can guarantee this, they took Jesus with them. Jesus became their companion on their journey as he intends to be ours.
We should not be afraid of questions we can’t answer, because life – and that includes our spirituality – is more far reaching than the limits of our reason. We have neither the intellectual nor the spiritual capacity to articulate answers that are satisfactorily within our framework of reason.
But we do have a guide for the journey. Some people take a more circuitous route to find the child in the manger than others, but all authentic questions will eventually lead us to follow the star and to find the savior.
No matter where you are today, Jesus will respond positively to your invitation to join the pilgrimage as companion and guide.
Our world is suffering for want of Magi, and if we are wise then we will still seek, and follow the star to the newborn child in Bethlehem.