The expectation of a new child is a precious time in the life of any family, but the real adventure starts at the child’s birth. There is an unfolding, an unveiling that takes place over time. Learning to walk, to speak, to reason (way down the line!). A personality emerges and talents develop. It is a journey of a life time.
What captivates me about Christmas is the unfolding journey of the Three Kings or Magi, a journey that symbolically fills in the days from now to Epiphany, January 6th being the traditional feast. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, Epiphany is more celebrated than Christmas. What intrigues me is their journey of faith, in faith. These three journeymen represent us who find our way to God. They represent our journeys of faith both to and from Bethlehem.
We don’t know really where Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar came from or even if these are their names. We know little about how long they journeyed or how they met along the way. But the Gospel of Matthew relates the story to us and from the early centuries of Christianity, their journey to the manger has consistently been celebrated. But after they make their way to Bethlehem and present their gifts, they leave. Their journey is not over. In a sense, it is just beginning.
It is with the encounter with Christ that our real journey begins. And it begins anew each Christmas Day. We not only journey with the Magi to see Christ, but we—like them—continue our journeys of faith, each day in faith. Let’s commit ourselves to the unfolding journey of Christ in our lives in the days, weeks and year ahead.
Robert Hotz is a consultant with American City Bureau, Inc. and was the Director of The Passion of Christ: The Love That Compels Campaign for Holy Cross Province.