In every Christmas pageant you see, whether it is a live production, a movie, or a television program, the Magi arrive the very night Christ is born. We know from the Bible this just isn’t so. For one thing, the Wise Men traveled to Jerusalem, not Bethlehem, first. For another, Matthew describes the place where they found Jesus and Mary not as a stable but as a house (Matthew 2:11). Also, camels usually need to spend about eight hours grazing for their daily 22 to 44 pounds of fodder, which cuts down on traveling time significantly. During what little time would have been left, the magi would not have gotten very far since the average walking speed of a camel is only 3 mph.
Yet there are those who insist the Magi got there that night. And so, I present to you a fictional account of How It Could Have Happened.
Each of the magi saw the Christmas star. Excited, they texted one another and agreed they would present gifts to the newborn King of the Jews. Fortunately, their local Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh store was still open, so acquiring an appropriate gift was quite convenient, especially since they all had debit cards.
Then, camels and all, they boarded their private jet and flew to the Ben Gurion airport. Once there, they (again, camels and all) took the shuttle into Jerusalem and requested an audience with King Herod. They asked him where the newborn king was. Herod was greatly troubled by the news that a king had been born, and one of his aides leaked this information to the press. Next thing you knew, all the television channels were carrying live coverage, and it was trending on Twitter, so the entire city of Jerusalem was immediately troubled along with Herod.
Herod, however, texted the chief priests and scribes to ask them where this king was supposed to be born. They immediately texted back “Bethlehem.”
Since Bethlehem was six miles away, the magi wanted to rent a car along with some trucks for the camels. Fortunately, despite the late hour, both Hertz and a U-Haul were still open, and soon they were on their way, zipping down Israel’s Highway 60 at a furious pace.
When the magi saw the star over the stable, they exited the car and, carrying their presents, hopped onto their camels, arriving to see the Christ Child moments after the shepherds got there. It was a good thing too, because they showed up just in time to hear the concert given by the Little Drummer Boy.
And that, my friends, is how the Magi got there Christmas night.
Oh, and be sure to ignore that silly business in Matthew 2:16 about Herod ordering the massacre of boys in Bethlehem two years of age and under. After all, we wouldn’t want to let the facts get in the way of any pre-conceived notions!