Christmas Eve was and remains a magical time. Last minute gifts are wrapped up and made ready to give away. Stockings are hung with the hope that goodies will be found the next morning, instead of the dreaded lump of coal (unless you live in Florida, because we get sandspurs when we manage to make the naughty list). It's a magical night, but this night isn't about magic at all.
Christmas Eve night began the preparations for Jesus birth. This was the same night that the star appeared. This was the night that the Magi first saw the star. They saw the star and they packed up and headed towards Bethlehem. They gathered what they needed, added their gifts, and set out on what appears to be a journey of two or more years, following a star.
Matthew 2:1-2 MSG
"After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah territory— this was during Herod’s kingship—a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. They asked around, “Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We’re on pilgrimage to worship him.”
Many have pondered the Magi, these scholarly men and their journey to worship Jesus. They are depicted as three wise men carrying frankincense, gold and myrrh as gifts. Wise scholars with a great knowledge of the words of the Old Testament prophets. They follow a star and they arrive just in time. Right after they inquired about the birth of a King, Herod began a hunt for Jesus throughout the land. All because of the visiting wise men who followed a star and a prophecy straight out of Micah (Matthew 2:5-6).
The wise men arrived at the right place and at the most opportune moment. The gifts they brought; gold for the presence of a King, frankincense for the presence of God and myrrh for His presence in the flesh. These three items where special and significant gifts for Jesus and His family.
It wasn't long after the presentation of the gifts that Joseph received word, via an angel in a dream, to flee Israel and go to Egypt (Matthew 2: 13-14). That very night they left Israel. They didn't wait for dawn, but hurried under cover of darkness. Their escape was just in time.
Mary, Joseph and Jesus were traveling once again, only this time they have the Magi's gifts. These very valuable gifts, may have been instrumental in the family's escape from Herod. Gifts that will surely help them overcome any obstacles they might have encountered and that would facilitate their stay in a foreign land.
Magic? No. Magically wonderful? Most certainly yes. God's plan is always fulfilled, and as it was here, it is often in the most spectacular and magical way. God's plans are always just right and right on time.