December 28, 2015

Matthew 2:11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

“They” are the magi, the three kings of the song (no, it never says they were kings. No, it never says there were three of them. No, it never gives them the names Balthasar, Caspar, and Melchior.) Wikipedia tells us, “Ordinarily this word is translated ‘magician’ in the sense of illusionist or fortune-teller, and this is how it is translated in all of its occurrences except for the Gospel of Matthew, where it is rendered ‘wise man’. However, early church fathers, such as St. JustinOrigenSt. Augustine and St. Jerome, did not make an exception for the Gospel, and translated the word in its ordinary sense, i.e. as ‘magician’.” They were foreigners, outsiders of questionable background, with some strange practices. But they brought good gifts to Jesus, and then they were gone. Life in the 21st century can be strange. People pop in and out quickly. Some may be what we expect, others not so much. Maybe the role they play or the gifts they give aren’t apparent to us in the moment. Who might be the magi in your life this week?

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