How strange the “Nativity Scene” must look to someone who doesn’t understand it. It is a portrayal of Christ’s birth that blends elements from two Gospels and adds some traditional – and a few mistaken – details. It usually shows Mary and Joseph looking after their baby lying on a trough filled with hay. Shepherds and three “kings” kneel before them, with the “kings” offering special gifts. Camels and other animals surround the little arena on the ground, while a bright star and angels frame it above.
So the Nativity Scene points beyond itself, signifying there is much more to the story it depicts. This 8-part Bible study will focus on one part of the story that is very mysterious, highly unusual, but also deeply compelling – the arrival of the “wise men,” also known as the “Magi.” Their association with Christ’s birth almost seems out of place. Only Matthew’s Gospel mentions their visit. He gives no explanation or background to the magi, yet there is a clear prophetic significance to their presence. They connect with something from the past, announce something about the present and predict something in the future.