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. They they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:10-11
You may have a nativity set with three wise men standing right next to the shepherds in the stable. One might even be set in your living room right now, or perhaps the children in your church acted it our during Advent or on Christmas Eve. This beautiful scene is ingrained on our collective Christmas memory. So while it may not have been a surprise to biblical scholars, most of us were shocked when we realized the wise men were not present at the manager. Now, before you start removing the wise men from your nativity scene, let’s think for a moment.
From Scripture we can surmise that it could have taken an unknown number of magi as long as two years to travel from where they were to where Christ was residing. They would have traveled by caravan and occasionally stopped to set up camp. Everyone making the journey would have been much aware that the goal was reaching the Christ child.
Today’s scripture tells us that immediately upon entering the house (not a stable), they fell down to worship Him. The journey was all about Jesus. After worshiping Him, they presented the child with gifts. It was still a celebration of the birth of the Savior. Two years later, it was still Christmas.
It’s common to feel a little bit of an emotional letdown following Christmas. So much effort and energy goes into the weeks leading up to it, and then it’s all over so quickly. But what if it weren’t? What if it continued after the decorations were packed away and the leftovers were eaten? Let’s linger over the Christ child a little longer. Perhaps those old nativity sets had the right idea. It is never too late or the wrong time to celebrate the birth of Christ.