When we think about the Magi for one last day and their role in Advent, I think that a lot of what we said about Mary and Joseph can apply to these men as well. The established religious leaders in Jerusalem didn’t realize that their Messiah had come, but the Magi were humble enough to realize what was happening around them. Humility plays a big part in our day-to-day lives even though we don’t realize it. It is kind of funny, but I had never thought about humility so much when I read the Christmas story, but it has struck me this year.
It is really tempting for all of us to want to impose our own narrative on top of the facts. You see this in politics all the time. There is some type of tragic situation, and we immediately blame the other side for whatever went wrong. Or when something goes right, we immediately impose on narrative on top of whatever happened to show that it was all because of us. Of course we were the good guys who made the situation better.
Very few of us have the humility to simply accept the situation as it is an understanding on its own merit. The Magi did their homework ahead of time and knew the religious documents they were supposed to learn about. Then, when they saw the real-life application of what they had learned, they didn’t try to contort the facts into something they weren’t. They didn’t try to write off the special star as just some type of strange astrological coincidence. They understood why it was important, and they took it for what it was.
The danger in accepting a situation the way it is is that sometimes we find something we don’t like. I don’t know how the Magi felt about discovering that the Old Testament prophecy of Micah was coming through. It probably threatened their existing worldview, and they might not have been thrilled about that at first. I know that most of us have a hard time with change. Obviously they were willing to follow the evidence, but if they are anything like me, they might not have liked it very much at first. They could have remained at home content that their world was exactly the way they envisioned it, but they were humble enough to realize that they didn’t know everything, and they wanted to find out what was true.
The benefit that emerged from the danger of threatening their worldview was that they actually found truth. They potentially gave up something they were comfortable with, but they found something better. Without the humility to actually think about what was actually true, they never would have found what was actually true.
That’s a challenge for me, and I think it might be a challenge for you as well. We have to be humble enough to realize there is a lot we don’t know, and the Magi showed us how that humility can have outstanding consequences.