Over centuries of time there has been much speculation regarding the magi–those men who followed the star which led them to the infant Jesus. When we are children, we accept the events in stories rather easily due to our un-fettered imagination. Our creativity is birthed from it. Sadly, as we get older our imagination gets squashed due to ‘correction’ and ridicule. Yet, all of nature and its workings were birthed from the highest imagination there ever was and it is this same Wonderful, Imaginative Creator who encourages us to become like children. Adults have speculated over when the events took place and where did the Magi come from and who were they. If you wish to pursue these “Who?”, “Where?” and “When?” questions–those adult speculative queries based on cold facts, then you have the freedom to choose from any number of books, essays and websites which are readily available. Personally, I prefer not to read the story as simply an account of a historical event. I choose not to ask the adult type questions “Who?”, “Where?” and “When?” but rather to read with child-like wonderment and fearless imagination and ask instead those questions that begin the way all children first come to ask questions: “How?” and “Why?” and then to speculate aloud the way all children do by asking, “What if?”
The biblical account of the visit of the Magi is a short one, simply written yet significant. The Magi came from the east following a star which they saw rose to the sky. They were aware of the exact time it first appeared. They stopped at Jerusalem to ask questions regarding the infants whereabouts and were advised by King Herod to go to Bethlehem. Yet when they left, they again followed the star which went ahead of them to Bethlehem and then stopped over the place where Jesus was. The Magi were overjoyed and worshipped Him and presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2:1-12)
And now let us wonder as children and question as children and imagine as children………
The star rose to the sky?
How did the star rise to the sky? Was it like the rising of the sun?
What if it was like a firework that suddenly shot upward into the sky and then exploded into a star but instead of coming back down, it stayed up? Imagine that! It would be very bright! How come no one else saw it? If everyone could see it, then Herod would have just sent his soldiers to follow it. Perhaps, they were Astronomers and saw a new star that no one else would have noticed. However, this star moved! What if….this was no ordinary star…
How did they know this star signified the birth of a king? I suppose if the star looked anything like the picture above, they would naturally come to the conclusion that this must signify something great. Why a King? Why would they even a care about the birth of a king in a country that was not their own? Yet, they were compelled to follow the star because they wanted to “worship” Him. Why?
What if they knew He was more than just a human king? What if they knew he was God incarnate? How could they know? What if they had special abilities such as premonition? Or perhaps it was something more….What if these particular Magi were just ordinary human beings? As ordinary as the rest of us…yet, they suddenly just knew. You know….the way we suddenly know things that are impossible to know. What if it was the most amazing intuitive insight there ever was and these men suddenly all shared it? What if this instinctive knowledge did more than just compelled them to follow this star but it also propelled them and this force which propelled the magi to follow the star also propelled the star to seek out the messiah?
Why do adults fear the impossible elements that occur in the bible? Why are we afraid to share the impossible that occurs in our own lives? I wonder if the Magi were afraid that some would think them crazy. The text doesn’t appear to say so because they boldly entered Jerusalem asking so many questions as to the whereabouts of this infant king that even Herod came to know about it. And as I ponder on this, it makes me wonder that perhaps we need to exercise our fearless imagination and our fearless faith to believe that the impossible possibilities with all its magic can be realized in any of us and in our lives and perhaps ….it has been there many times throughout history all along.