Magi Musings

A free verse reflection, based on Matthew 2.1-12, for Epiphany Day, January 6, 2023[1]

I wonder about the magi. Those Eastern sages who came from afar following the star to Jerusalem, then onward to Bethlehem.

I do not wonder about their number. Scripture makes no mention, saying only that they bore gifts three. Hence, by convention, tradition has assigned three. (Though, for all we know, there may have been but two or four or more. Perhaps a score?) Moreover, time over, the three have been given names: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar.)

Yet this I do wonder. What did they wonder after they beheld the grandeur of the babe in the manger? After they presented their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh? After they began their journey home by “another way”?

Did they talk among themselves? Or did they fall silent, each to his own reverie; their individual counsel keeping? Perhaps afraid to reveal what (that) they were thinking, about that baby?

Did they wonder: How can we continue to serve the potentates of our home lands as we have done in our time and our fathers before us and our grandfathers before them and our forebears before all, now that we have beheld, far greater than our magic, the mystery of the Lord-of-all-generations in a manger laid? And what of the tools of our trades? How can we wield them? Our sacred tomes. Our auguries, Our prophecies. Our potions and prayers to our little gods of little glory. All, now, forever empty. And what of ourselves? What do we do? We who have lost our once-thought ageless vocatio; which, as the tide of time slipping through our fingers, no longer summons us to employ our arts, for we have knelt at the feet of the Ancient of Everlasting Days!

Today, I wonder what does anyone do? Me? You? Once we become blind to what we held true, for we have beheld, in flesh akin to our very own, the epiphany of God’s glory?

© 2023 PRA

Illustration: Journey of the Magi (c. 1894), James Tissot (1836-1902)

#TheFeastoftheEpiphany #January6


[1] First published, January 6, 2018 and, here, revised

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