The magi saw the star at its rising. They followed it and when they arrived at the place where it stopped, they honored the newborn King. They payed homage and offered not only their gifts, but also their hearts. Then, having seen and been received by “the child with Mary his mother” (Mt 2:11), the newborn King to whom they were led, they went home another way. Surely it would have been easier for them to go home the way they had come to Bethlehem, but a dream warning them not to return to Herod told them different. They received it, much the same way that they received the star at its rising; with a deep desire to go where it led. They, like the shepherds, knew which authority was worth following and it led them to Life.
Kahlil Gibran wrote, “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself” (The Prophet). Similarly each journey one might embark upon or each endeavor one may seek to carry out brings with it “Life’s longing for itself.” No journey or endeavor is mine alone. No, rather each is part of a much bigger picture. However, if they become mine alone then “Life’s longing for itself,” and the joy that accompanies it, will fade away.
If the magi had stopped their journey when they reached King Herod and found no newborn king at the place where they had expected to find him, if they had not continued following the star, or if they had ignored the dream and returned home from Bethlehem the easier way…the same route, life would have been unchanged.
God is with us, it is up to us if we want to be with God. When we do, there is Life.
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod,
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising and
have come to do him homage.”
When King Herod heard this,
he was greatly troubled,
and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people,
He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea,
for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler,
who is to shepherd my people Israel.”
Then Herod called the magi secretly
and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said,
“Go and search diligently for the child.
When you have found him, bring me word,
that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way.
– Matthew 2:1-12