The last characters from the nativity scene we’ll look at are the Magi who came from the East. The Magi represent the intellectuals of their day, the sophisticated, wealthy folks. Despite their riches, the Magi were poor in spirit. Poor? Really? Yes, they were able to give up their creature comforts and put their reputations on the line in order to set out in search of the new king. Think about it: Herod was so jealous and threatened at the thought of this new king that he had all the children of the same age killed off. But the Magi had open minds and hearts like the shepherds and they were able to leave everything behind to follow the light of Christ shining in their hearts.
We know the story: when they arrived at the manger the Magi offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. These gifts symbolized true worship and adoration. The Magi recognized Jesus as their true King. Today there are many idols fighting for our attention and threatening to keep us away from the manger. Money, ambition, gadgets, multiple distractions and all sorts of bling — all of these can become gods in our lives and block our way to the one true God.
This Christmas, stop and think about what might be blocking your path to Christ. Maybe you go to Mass, but do you really pay attention to what is going on? Do you take a moment to say grace before meals? Do you pray a daily rosary, or read a bit of Scripture? In the midst of the Christmas rush have you taken a few extra minutes for prayer each day? Have you prayed around your Advent wreath or said a blessing prayer for your nativity scene? Or have you been too busy to make room for God in your life?
Scripture tells us that the Magi departed to their country by another way. This other way symbolizes how they were changed by their encounter with Christ. Following Christ requires that we sometimes make courageous choices and heroic changes in our lives. How will you live differently as a result of the Year of Mercy we have just completed and the graces of this Christmas?