They come from the East, the star of Bethlehem guided their way!

By Fernanda Noriega

Some magicians from the East were guided by a star to worship the newborn king of the Jews

On the night of January 5, thousands and thousands of children turn their eyes toward heaven with a tender illusion. They await the Three Magi: Melchor, Gaspar and Baltazar who bring presents to Mexican children. Many little ones make an effort to learn to write so that on this date, they can let the Kings know what gifts they are longing for. The letters all begin the same way: “Dear Three Wise Men…” Their enthusiasm is so great that some treasure memories of having heard the footsteps of an elephant, a camel and a horse in their living room.

In the Gospel of Saint Matthew we find the only mention that the Bible makes of these characters, defining them as “magicians.” They were guided by a star to find the whereabouts of the Messiah who had just been born in a stable in Bethlehem and where he was staying with his parents Mary and Joseph. After finding the boy and worshiping him, they each offered him a gift. Gold, the metal of kings; incense, the offering of the gods; and myrrh, as an announcement of his future sufferings. It was then that, according to the word of Saint Matthew, the three magi were warned by an angel not to say a word about this to Herod, as he sought to end the life of the newborn.

As you know, this is all the information we have about these generous characters. But in the Apocryphal Gospels more details have been found and, in fact, it was revealed that the term “magicians” was a synonym for “astrologers.” Thus their knowledge about stars and events that they announce.

And so it is that to this day, on the fifth day of the year, children prepare for the arrival of the magi. Beneath the Christmas tree they place a letter, an object such as a shoe to identify them, and a small offering for the Kings, something as simple as cookies or milk. Afterwards, they probably sleep less than on any other night of the year, barely able to hold off till dawn to run and get their gifts. Aside from the gifts they also look for some vestige that the Three Wise Men were there and perhaps, swept up by the magic, they are able to maintain their childhood innocence one more year. And although it eventually does go away, it leaves sweet memories behind.