“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem.”

Matthew 2:1-12

For many years now I have been fascinated with the story of the Magi. They had a sense of expectation, much like we do, though the divine son they were expecting was based on their Zoroastrian beliefs. Nonetheless, they planned and watched, knowing that someday they would see a sign that the time was right.

The Persians were an amazing civilization, responsible for so much that made their part of the world very advanced for its time. They had an extensive trade network that extended far and wide around the Middle East, and they had built the roads that the Romans later expanded and took credit for. The Magi were intellectual and spiritual elites, with a significant reputation as Persia’s best and brightest.

The story we see in Matthew’s Gospel shows them arriving in the region prepared for something extraordinary, and encountering political intrigue and potential danger on the way. King Herod, who would tolerate no risk to his position, was willing to commit any level of atrocity to maintain his grip on power, and the Magi could see right through his deception.

What do we put our hopes in, and how do we plan in anticipation of it? Are we caught up in the power and influence we can attain, or are we looking toward One who is greater, promised long ago and so much more than we could have ever expected? Do we recognize the hopes and dreams of others around us, even if those others are very different from us? The Holy Spirit is at work in ways we often don’t recognize, whispering a message of loving expectations and possibilities for all.