As a child, I would conflate the Magi with Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha, and imagine the Wise Men singing, “This is my quest/To follow that star/No matter how hopeless/No matter how far/To fight for the right/Without question or pause/To be willing to march into Hell/For a heavenly cause…” I thought it worked – except for the “hopeless” part.
The journey of the Three Kings, which we celebrate today, is a journey of hope and faith. They follow the star, uncertain of the location to which they’ll be led, but certain of Who awaits them there. Scripture does not tell us how long they had traveled, what hardships they had faced, what they had lost along the way. The importance of their story is that they came willingly, trusting God to get them to where they needed to be.
We all have our favorite images of them arriving to kneel before the Christmas Child. But what we tend to forget is that the Magi did not stay. They worshiped, they gave their offering, and then they got up again. They followed God’s direction to another place.
Worship is not a singular act, confined to a space and time. It is how we are to live, day in and day out – with contrite hearts humbled by God’s grace, with open minds ready to hear His instruction, with eager hands ready to serve Him.
It is easy to stay at the manger, to define our faith with one act. But we are called to greater purpose. We are called to follow the Star even as it moves us to new paths. Bathed in the light of Epiphany, we must heed the call of the Lord to new service, new challenges, and new joys.
May we all have the strength, the humility, and the faith to follow the Star, to the glory of God.
“When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 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. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.”