All around the world today there are celebrations of what is known as Three Kings Day. It also marks 359 days until Christmas.
The legend of the Magi is widely known but the purpose of the wise men and who they were is not entirely understood by most. It is by far one of the most sacred elements of the Christmas story.
Secular historians have long tried to explain away the wise men as scientists, mystics or even priests of Zoroastrianism. This is due to the elements of the story that make them a strange fit in the story of Christ. The fact they “came from the East” and “followed a star” is hard for academics to put their arms around.
It doesn’t have to be that hard.
The Bible not only predicted Christ but celebrating His coming into the world. Every Christmas the words of scripture predating Christ from the Book of Isaiah used by Handel in Messiah runs a tune through every head who knows the words — “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given…”
Those and other scriptures indicate that Christ was anticipated by generations long before he ever came.
The story of the Nativity is not complete without the telling of angelic visitations. Mary saw an angel. Joseph saw an angel. Angels were seen by the shepherds.
It is not a big stretch to assume then that these ancient kings had visitations as well.
There is some documentary evidence uncovered in recent years detailed in the scholarly work, Revelation of the Magi, a supposed ancient manuscript that has been buried deep in the archives of the Vatican for centuries. It tells the story of an ancient order of men who not only knew of Christ but prepared for his coming as far back as the days of Seth, who was Adam’s son.
The work declares these men as priests who had a knowledge of Christ and who held the holy priesthood of God, as described of many from the Old Testament.
They were NOT present at the Nativity. But they did come to not only worship the Christ Child but also to bless him in preparation of his earthly ministry.
Around the world the legend of these three kings — and we don’t really know for sure there were three, just that there was more than one of them — is celebrated in a variety of ways. There are live nativities played today where the Three Kings show up and bring gifts. Children will dress as one of the Three Kings. And for some it is a day of great gift giving, as big as Christmas Day in a number of cultures.