At Midnight the song of the Angels is heard praising God and announcing peace. Above the sky heaven’s glory had come down to the darkness of earth’s night. In this heavenly light the angelic hosts the shepherds were told of a sign lying in a manger, and they went to see the Child and they worshiped him.
Sometimes the heavens come down and cast their brilliant light upon us. And sometimes the heavens stay where they are, and no angelic voices are heard. Only the light of a single star is given to us within the context of our ordinary lives, with to show us the right way forward. Today we reflect upon such persons who made their way to Bethlehem; the Magi.
The Magi come to Christ by careful observation of the times and seasons. They notice the miraculous within the context of the ordinary. When they come to Jerusalem, the chief priests and scribes confirm and strengthen the truth of what they have already begun to understand, that the Savior is to be born in Bethlehem. Their spiritual journey was becoming clearer and seeing the star once more, and knowing what it signifies even better than before, they are filled with even greater anticipation and joy.
Everyone who persists in the search for truth knows something of that anticipation and joy. Their search for truth leads them to find the Child, and to discover that it is God who has seen them and known them, and has called them to be His. And opening their treasures of gold, frankincense and myrrh, they symbolically reveal the definitive triumph over sin and death brought about through the suffering of this Child and His saving work,.
This journey of the wise men is important for us who live in a world which is mostly no longer motivated by Christian revelation. Traditionally, the wise men were shown as being different racial types, representing the three branches of humanity descended from Noah’s sons, indicating of the universality of the people of God and that all are called to belong to the Christ Child and His Church.
The Magi show us that humanity, using the light of reason, has not lost the divine image imprinted in creation. It is not just those who have some sort of experience of faith, those who have a natural interest in religion, an affinity with prayer and worship who are called to worship Jesus. He is Lord also of those who have no religious roots, those who in our secular culture search for what is true and good and beautiful.
There may not always be a brilliant light to lead to the Child of Bethlehem, but everything true is an echo of the Word through whom all things were made. Christ is available to all. Whether we are waiting for Him, or have not yet responded to the call, He has come for all. Whether our journey to Him is a response to heavenly light given through baptism and confirmation and sustained in the Eucharist, or it is the result of looking honestly at our world and a willingness to search into the deeper questions of life. He calls all to make their way to Him with anticipation and joy.