9After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures,they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. (Matthew 2:9-12)
The strange guiding star in the sky, which has enticed these mystics to travel for so long finally leads them to their destination. These wandering astrologers are led to a baby. And they worship this baby.
Now, throughout the Old Testament the Israelites are told to worship only God, who is unseen! Yet strange men bow before a crying, pooping, eating, sleeping baby! No one stops them, nor protests when strange gifts are presented.
Gold, for royalty. Frankincense for prayers and myrrh for the grave. Confusing.
Is this baby supposed to be God, or a king, or a priest or is he to suffer? Well he can’t be all four. Can he?
What if these pagans knew something the religious leaders did not, something that made the city afraid, something that threatened Herod and his kingdom. Far from the world of roman politics, is this small worship setting. Away from the blood and slander, far from the betrayal and lies in the senate.
Strange, dangerous, risky. What if the neighbours saw what was happening? What if the leader of the synagogue knew?
No, that doesn’t matter now. This strange child is bigger than all of that. God is bigger than all of that. All our ideas about the way things are and the ways things should be… changed. Because God has broken a 400 year silence. And we don’t know what to expect.
But there is joy to be had. This is a baby worth celebrating. Worth giving extravagant gifts to.
It’s all a little bit ridiculous. The promised saviour has come, and some random foreigners are the only ones who mark the occasion.
What, was Herod blind? Could he not see that God was about to do something?
Maybe he could, maybe he just didn’t like it.