Today is traditionally celebrated as the Epiphany. The dictionary tells me that EPIPHANY is:
1. The manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi (Matthew 2:1–12).
The festival commemorating the Epiphany on 6 January.
noun: epiphany; plural noun: epiphanies
2. A moment of sudden and great revelation or realization.
The Magi were wise men, astologers, astronomers and magicians. There were not Jews and certainly the type of people Jews would associate with in accordance with OT laws ( e.g. Leviticus 19:26, 31 NASB ‘You shall not…………. practice divination or soothsaying. ‘Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.)
From the HCSB study Bible:
Eastern magi mixed Zoroastrianism with astrology and black magic. They are described in Dn 2: 2,4-5,10, where they are associated with diviner-priests, mediums, and sorcerers. The term “magus” (sg of “magi”) appears only once in the NT. It describes the sorcerer whom Paul portrayed as a “son of the Devil, full of all deceit and all fraud, enemy of all righteousness” (Ac 13: 6-10). The magus of whom Paul spoke would have held beliefs that were similar to those of the wise men. Thus, the summons of the magi to visit Jesus demonstrates God’s intention to save Gentiles from their futile religions. As an adult, Jesus cast out demons and broke Satan’s grip on beleaguered people. Here we see that even in His infancy, Christ plundered Satan’s kingdom and set captives free.
These strangers turn up and worship the child (not baby), they bring gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh: symbolic of Kingship, Priesthood and Death/sacrifice. Herod’s advisors tell him that the Messiah would come from Bethlehem, they knew the scriptures, they knew the prophesies and yet they did not go to “check it out”. However, Herod was worried enough to repeat history in his slaughter of the innocents. But God’s plans are not to be thwarted by the ambitions of man…..
Jesus’ message of salvation was and is for all people everywhere: born in poverty under the cloud of perceived impropriety, worshipped by Angels, shepherds, and Magi. Feared by rulers and ignored by the religious establishment.
This is Christ our King, let us all bow down in Worship, and celebrate His incarnation every day – it is always Christmas in the hearts of those who know and love Him. Saved by Grace in a moment of sudden and great revelation.
Matthew 2:1-11 NASB
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him." When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet:
“And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah ,
Are by no means least among the leaders of Judah;
For out of you shall come forth a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel .”
Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him." After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.