We all are familiar with the beloved story of the Magi as they followed the star faithfully to finally pay homage to the newborn Savior. A couple of things are important to realize and take note of when admiring the Magi’s faith journey in order that we might learn from their discipleship. Like any disciple of Jesus, they first had an open heart to find him or at least, they were open to be found by him. For us, if we are to have a deeper, more sincere relationship with Christ, we must first have the openness and willingness to find Christ or to be found by him. In order for the magi to have their epiphany, they first needed to be open to the possibility of having one. If we are to experience our own epiphany, we first need to be open to the possibility of having one. It is difficult to experience an epiphany of Christ if we are opposed to having one, much less not be open to the possibility at all.
The second revelation concerning the Magi is their recognition of Christ in their epiphany (the star). While most missed this manifestation of God’s presence in the star, they in their openness saw it and recognized it as it was. Of all the stars in the heavens, they were able to discern God’s intentional act of revelation in the presence of that star, and the Magi got it. For us, if we are open to having God reveal himself to us, we need to be open to him and next recognize his presence when it is revealed. Granted, God reveals himself to us constantly, and we certainly are not limited to one big epiphany, but we can expect many epiphanies large and small throughout our day, if we are open to receiving them.
The next aspect of the Magi’s epiphany experience, is that they had the will and desire to follow it, to embrace and to respond to it. The response to the Magi’s epiphany was to follow the star, to go somewhere, to go to the real presence of Christ. Recognizing God’s presence in the star was not enough, something further was demanded of them, in this case to go, and draw closer to the actual presence of Christ. For us, it is not enough simply to recognize God’s presence in the various ways he is revealed to us. Most, if not all of these epiphanies of ours demand some sort of choice or action. It is not enough to simply admire the presence of God, action is required. By recognizing God’s presence, we also recognize his desires and demands of our lives. We, like the Magi, must discern what that response is. Whether it is a physical action, a change of heart or change in lifestyle, we must respond or our experience with an epiphany of God’s presence is pointless.
The final element of the Magi’s epiphany is that they endured, and completed their response to its fulfillment, by physically coming to the physical presence of the Christ-child. The same is demanded of us. Like the magi, when we are open to God’s epiphany, we recognize God’s presence, we respond to it and then finally persevere in the calling of God to complete our response.
These four things that the magi did are required of us in order to be true disciples of the Christ.