As we explored the story further, we realised that it wasn't just the gifts that contained a message, but the people who brought them. We are not quite sure what the word 'Magi' actually means. Perhaps the writer was trying to tell us that they didn't easily fit any type of dignitary that were familiar to the society in which Jesus was born. Were they religious figures? Monarchs? Political rulers? No-one is really sure. They came as foreign visitors to a society that tended to treat outsiders with suspicion and disdain. They were alerted to Jesus' coming by looking at the stars - yet the religious people of the day were more concerned about their written traditions and rules. Characters that might not have been expected to belong, take centre stage in revealing to the world who Jesus was. We might sometimes feel like outsiders, or may wonder if we need to learn a whole load of doctrine before God can accept us - these visitors from the East, remind us that we all have a place in God's family.

And if you think about it, it was important that all of the gifts came along. Any one of them on their own would have said something about Jesus, but it is only by putting them all together that we get the full picture. This reminded us that we all have a place in God's scheme of things, no matter how different our contribution might be to what others bring. Just as our various items each had their place in saying something about the epiphany gifts, so we can all play a part in discovering who Jesus is.

We wondered if people would have recognised this, if they had met the Magi on their way to find the new-born Jesus. This reflection helps us to explore these questions

Click here for our reflections on words
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Click here for our reflections for Advent
Click here for 'What's on your plate?'

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