Sunday 20 December 2020

Magi (Canada, 1982)

Here we have the three Magi aka Caspar, Balthazar and Melchior, aka the Three Kings or the Three Wise Men. The internet tells me that only the Gospel of Matthew mentions the Magi and that we have come to assume that there were three of them because there were three presents (I like the idea that there could have been a dozen and they clubbed together to get a better present because, you know, gold is expensive). Eastern Christianity does suggest that there might have been twelve Magi…

So what do we know about them? They rocked up at Bethelehem with gifts, right? Because they followed a star? Those things are indeed part of the narrative, but the bit that gets forgotten is that they had come from afar (possibly Persia), and checked in at Jerusalem en route, telling Herod and his people that they were coming to bring gifts to the newborn King of the Jews. This obviously put the wind up Herod who didn’t fancy a King of the Jews being born in his patch. So Herod sent the Magi to Bethlehem to find the Baby and to report back on his whereabouts, saying that he also wanted to pay homage. But the Magi – being Wise and so advised in a dream – didn’t bother to report back to Herod but went home by another route.

This is the stuff that they don’t put in the songs…

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