Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men[a] from the east came to Jerusalem.
Matthew 2:1 ESV
The footnote is that the word for wise men in Greek was magi. That is mage in singular, the root of the English words magic and Magician. So to rephrase
Behold, magicians from the east came to Jerusalem.
But not magicians as we know them now, stage entertainers, illusionists and conjurers. These were real magicians using real magic. Or at least as real as magic gets.In short, it isn’t much of a stretch to get to this:
Behold, occultists from the east came to Jerusalem.
What I have just written could be seen as trolling, after all there are a lot of Christians out there who are against the occult, and this just looks like a way of making them bite.
Which is exactly the point. Matthew’s Gospel, the only one to include the Magi, was written for a Jewish audience, people who knew the Old Testament law that being an occultist carried the death penalty. But years of children’s nativity plays with boys with cardboard crowns on their heads as kings or tea towels in their heads a s shepherds and girls in white with fake wings as angels has turned the story safe and nice.
The story starts with occultists and ends in genocide. It is not nice it is a horror story.
But the story contains magic, real magic. Something more powerful than anything even the most powerful eastern mage could imagine.
God. The all powerful God, creator and sustainer of the universe has fully become human. Not just a bit of God, but all of God is present in one little child.
God is with us.