Most of us grew up with nativity scenes in our homes. At the center of the scene is a cute baby Jesus, happily lying in a manger. Around him are a proud Mary and Joseph, along with three or four shepherds and maybe some chorusing angels flapping around on the roof of the shed. Of course any manger scene worth its salt will also have a collection of sheep and at least one cow. It’s all very peaceful, charming, bucolic.
And in virtually every manger set I’ve ever seen are the Magi, or as we used to call them, the wise men. Three of them, there are always three of them, each holding a gift in his hands, even though the story doesn’t say there were three Magi. There had to be at least two because the Greek word for Magi is plural, but it could have been three or five or seven. Matthew doesn’t specify the number.
- Matthew 2:13 - 22