God is hidden from our human perceptions and speaks to us in a quiet way, either directly, heart to heart, or indirectly, through the intellect. It is by the second road that God leads the Magi to the newborn Christ child and, still today, He leads many people to His saving Grace in the same way.
They were astrologers. They put their faith in the stars. The idea of a personal God was foreign to them but their long journey to meet the “newborn King” would change that. God speaks to them first through the stars and then, heart to heart, through the holy scene at Bethlehem. A child – the Lamb of God, the Bread of Life – lies in a feeding trough rejected by a world hungering for life and longing for light to pierce the darkness. The heart of the world was hardened, impenetrable to God’s direct communication; nor could its intellect perceive the signs in the sky because these unworldly perceptions must either be accepted by the heart or rejected as hallucinations. If it can’t be explained it can’t be real… to a closed heart.
“They brought three gifts: gold to honor His Kingship, frankincense to honor His Divinity, and myrrh to honor His Humanity.*” Luke speaks of them in an unquantified general way suggesting that these gifts were substantial, not mere tokens of appreciation, and rightly so since He was a King, not just for the Jews but for all of humanity. What happened to these riches when Joseph and Mary presented Jesus in the temple and made the offering of the poor – two turtledoves? Did they give it all away, recognizing that the wealth of God’s Grace, with which they were filled, would guide sustain and protect them through life? We can only speculate.
The Magi, warned by an angel, reject the deceitful inquiry of Herod – “those who possess the spirit of the world conceal an instinctive hatred and jealousy of God*” – and return by a different route – “no one who ever meets Christ with a good will returns the same way as he came.*”
Glory to God in the highest!
Peace to people of good will!
[* “Life of Christ” by Fulton J. Sheen, 1958, pp. 40 & 42, published by Ignatius Press ]