I think that next Epiphany, I am going to add a fourth magus to my nativity.
Why do we sing “We Three Kings…” and place three figures when we are never told that there were actually three? Why not two, or twenty?
Far from trying to be difficult, though, my desire to add a fourth magus has everything to do with my own experience of the story and the way that I can enter into the story.
Different people focus at different points of the story. Me? I am drawn to the very end, the post-script, you could say. There is, at the very end, a transition sentence. This sentence serves as a bridge between the visit of the magi and the flight to Egypt. But this sentence is far more than simply a transition sentence, it could be, I think, the actual high point of the story.
“…they left for their own country by another road” (Mt. 2:12, NRSV).
The Greek word used here for “road” (NIV uses “route”) can refer to a literal road or highway. It can also refer more figuratively to a journey, and it can also be used to refer to a way of life ( for example, “I’ve been down that road before…).
I wonder what it was like for the magi, as they were packing up to leave.
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