The three kings or three wise men are speculation and come from tradition. The only ones mentioned in the Bible are the magi from the east. The assumption that there were three is because of the three gifts that they brought: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Since the gift were costly, they are presumed to have had money.
Travel was not easy, especially from a long distance. The magi were on a quest—determined to find the child whose star they had seen. Imagine spending a fortune, taking great risks, with no grantees, all in search of a star. Sounds like the stuff we see in the movies. We can picture the scene: Weeks, perhaps months of travel, sitting by campfires, the wind blowing. Camels, donkeys, maybe horses—they used what was available. Humans, like animals, must rest. No doubt that lots of territory was covered during daylight hours, but the nights were for sleeping. Servants found food, water, shelter for the magi. We do not know the perils they endured; we know that they finally arrived in Jerusalem. The magi were met by King Herod who was paranoid about being overthrown. Most insecure people in power, particularly the ones who are doing a bad job are paranoid about loosing their seat. King Herod did not realize, the magi did not realize, many Christians still do not realize that Jesus is not a temporal King, but the Everlasting King. Yet, we only perceive reality by our limited knowledge. The magi were aware that they were in search of someone special. His star must have been spectacular to compel them to embark on the adventure of their life.
Many a journey has been undertaken in our life without knowing where the road will lead. Faith is vital for such a journey. We have the promise of God’s Providence, but no map, no GPS, no insurance. God is always with us, guiding us. God made the star. God shows the way. Our job is to trust. For sure there will be obstacles along the way. In a sense, the magi represent us on our journey to the Christ Child. We are aware of the disillusionment that life brings when we take a wrong turn. The distractions are countless. The allurements of temptation often get in our way. However, we learn by making mistakes. We need to get back on the right track and not get discouraged. Along the way there will be those who want to help us reach out destination and those who want to prevent our encounter with Christ. At times, we can get in our way.
Pride, resentments, feeling of unworthiness will inevitably poke their head into our life. If the magi had stopped to consider the cost, the distance, the dangers of the journey, they might have changed their mind. Fear will not allow us to grow. The magi received much more than they brought. We can never outdo Christ in generosity. Whatever we offer the Lord in love, He will multiply. Our humble stewardship is all that we have. Consider that we are now many more than the original visitors. There is strength in numbers. Our community gathers, not to search but because we have found the King. The story continues. If we are truly convinced of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, in His Word and in each other, then we cannot keep silent. The Gospel was spread and will continue to be communicated because folks just like us cared to speak about our Savior. The Epiphany is now as He enlightens our minds to recognize Him in the breaking of the Bread and the sharing of the Cup.
Precious moments as we stand in awe before our Lord. The journey is always worth the struggle. Rejoice that we have arrived.