I’ve always loved the story of Magi, but it’s a bit different from the rest of the Christmas story, it’s more of a journey and less of an event. The Magi followed the star for years before finally arriving in Bethlehem. Mary and Joseph were in a house, so presumably things had improved somewhat since the stable. But they weren’t home in Nazareth, so they were still displaced and though they didn’t know it yet, they were about to go into exile. But God had prepared them for this, in the gifts of the Magi.
I love the theological symbolism of these gifts. But I also love the practicality. They were luxury items, and probably were sold to finance their travel and stay in Egypt. I love that God is the provider of our physical and financial needs, not just spiritual ones.
For us this has been the year the Magi came. The last couple years have been a huge time of transition for our family. A difficult pregnancy, an even harder delivery followed by an underweight newborn while trying to home school two older children. Just as I was getting my equilibrium back, we moved to a new home. Then a few months ago we began the process of therapy for our five year old and now our eight year old. And a month from now my husband will transition to a new job after ten years with the same company.
This new job will meet many of our practical needs, yet even within the way it has all come about we can see God’s fingerprints. It’s been the kind of news that gives dead dreams life again. A year and a half ago we felt as though we didn’t know what was coming next. I can’t say that God has felt far from me during this process, but I know that has been the case for my husband and suddenly it feels as though he is so very near. We are in the house, watching the holy family be blessed by the magi, and in turn those gifts were handed to us.
I feel so unworthy, because my faith has not always been strong, I’ve definitely had my moments of doubt. But I also know we are being prepared for something. These blessings come not with contingencies but with a mission. We just don’t know what it is yet. My own offerings seem so minimal compared to all I am being given in return. Yet, I lift out my hands in surrender, never more aware than now that all that I am and ever shall be, belongs to the loving Father who sent his son as a baby. A savior who set aside the trappings of divinity to experience what it was like to be human. I am awed and grateful beyond words.