A Legend Card from Time4me Greetings
Facts and Fables
The nativity scene depicts the stables, shepherds, manger,
Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, and three wise men.
But were there really three?
The three gifts of the Magi
have given rise to the legend of the "Three" Wise Men. It has been suggested
that this is reasonable because no Magi would have brought more than one
gift and neither would any of them have come empty handed. But equally
there could have been more than three. Perhaps there were seven Magi, with
three bringing gifts of gold, two of frankincense and two of myrhh? The
numbers are pure supposition. The Bible account tells us only that there
was more than one Magi, but their number is
The Magi probably came from Persia or southern Arabia. They are believed to be linked with the priesthood of the religion of Zoroastrianism or the practice of Astrology. Naturally they looked for the new King in Jerusalem, the capital where the paranoid King Herod heard of their quest.
The prophet Micah had predicted 700 years previously that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. King Herod's fears of this prompted him to talk to the Magi, sending them to Bethlehem to find the child and return to him with the information. The Bible clearly states that the visit of the Magi to Jesus was not on the night of his birth, unlike the shepherds' visit to the manger, and occurred later when Jesus was staying in a house in Bethlehem.
The Epiphany (January 6)
is the 12th day of Christmas and commemorates the Visit of the Magi to
the infant Jesus.
More information on events following the birth of Jesus is found in Matthew 2: 1-23.