One of the things I love about Christmas is that is peels away the stale parts of us. It refreshes and renews us from the inside like a new birth. God knows we need this new birth over and over again, because the realities of life can make us cold, crusty, and calloused. At Christmas, we're invited to come close and see the God who comes close to us.
"When you seek me with all your heart, you will find me" [Jesus].
The Magi were most likely scientists of some sort. The root of the word "magician" is magi. Boundaries between occult-type practices and legitimate science were very blurred back then as people were trying to figure out the natural world. We know they came from the East, and perhaps they were familiar with Balaam's oracle which said the appearance of a star would indicate a Messiah was to be born in Judah.
When these guys saw the sign, the headed for Jerusalem to look for this new king, eventually finding their way to the young child Jesus in a house in Bethlehem. They worshiped him there. Too often, we focus on what they brought. The truth is, they came seeking. It's not about what they gave to Jesus; it's what God gave to them.
Some people travel a great distance to get to Christ [ideologically, culturally, philisophically, emotionally], while others don't have to travel very far at all, much like the shepherds who just walked across the field. Neither the Magi's journey nor the shepherd's journey would have been possible if it weren't for God's journey. He came close. He bridged the gap. He's here.
Emmanuel: God with us.
"God did this so we would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us" [Acts 17:21]. It is a gift from God that he is close enough we can find him. He's here: God is with us. For some, it's been a long journey to get to Christ while for others of us it may have been a simple walk back home. He promised when we seek him with all our heart, we will find him.
We don't have to look far. What a gift!