There are not many Biblical stories that entice and arouse the imagination quite like the story we hear today of the three kings, the Magi, following the star to Bethlehem to visit the newborn King. Maybe it is because they come from an unknown place in the East, a place of mystery to westerners and of wonderment to our childlike ears. Maybe it’s the encounter with Herod and the defeat of his deception that sounds a cheer of victory in hearts that long to see Good triumph over Evil. Maybe it’s the distance these “outsiders” travel to visit a King with whom they have no identity, except that they too are kings, albeit earthly kings, and they see in His Kingship something greater than their own. Maybe it’s the darkness of night that encompasses their story and intrigues us because breaking into that darkness comes the magnificence of the star.
How could Herod have missed it? How could he have not known the significance of the star in the Magi’s story and search? How could he not see in the star God’s Glory and in the animal’s feeding trough the new Jerusalem which Isaiah describes?
Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. See, darkness covers the earth… but upon you the Lord shines, and over you appears His Glory. Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance… they all come to you: caravans of camels shall fill you… bearing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the Lord.
How could anyone miss it unless our hearts are so selfishly closed in on ourselves that we cannot see in the manger the Beauty, Truth and Splendor of Our Lord’s Mercy and Love!