Our Christmas season is done but the nativity set is still up.
I like our nativity set because Mary is holding Jesus.
The magi are there...but we know that they really don't arrive for awhile. They aren't the folks that come to visit at the hospital after a baby is born, they are the "ride my camel for a long time, stop and ask for directions, arrive at the house after the baby is born and people stop bringing meals" folks.
The magi are connected to Herod's sudden awareness of a new king in town.
The magi worship Jesus and bring gifts.
The magi continue to receive God's guidance, this time through a dream which warns them not to go back to Herod.
That must have been an interesting return trip home. Not going home the way you came and no GPS. Wondering if the king wonders why you haven't shown up back at the palace. Looking over your shoulder.
When they leave the house of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, an angel of the Lord appears to Joseph warning them to leave and escape to Egypt because Herod is coming to kill Jesus.They head out during the night...no months of planning and stocking up supplies. No time to double check the map. No time to buy extra blankets or send a message to anyone. Get up and go.
Herod has been waiting...and waiting...and waiting...and he is mad. mad. mad.
Ordering the death of all the boys in Bethlehem and surrounding area that are two years old and younger.
And mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and grandmas and grandpas weep because their little boys are murdered.
The House of Herod and Jesus intersect again at the end of Jesus' ministry...Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great, sees Jesus after Pilate sends Jesus to him. I have more thoughts about that encounter but that is for a different post.
The journey of the magi is rocky and sandy. Intrigue and warnings. Seeking and finding. Tents and palaces. Good and evil. The Holy One of Israel.
The only rendition I've ever heard of We Three Kings that seems to communicate that message is by Patty Smyth. Close your eyes and listen.