Twenty-five years ago, a beautiful country singer by the name of Kathy Mattea wrote and sang a sweet song called, “There's A New Kid in Town.” It depicts the story of the Wise Men seeking out the Christ child. They approach Bethlehem and start asking where they might find the child. One man points them toward the stables, to the only baby he's heard about. The man tells them he has heard that a king might come but up until now there hasn't been one. And so the story goes, the three wise men find the child, present their gifts and bow down to worship the Lord.
As beautiful as the song is, it's not quite factual and the story poses several questions that I would like readers to comtemplate. First of all, Matthew 2 tells the story of the Magi finding the child Jesus with his mother in a house. The wise men were not figures who visted the baby Jesus on the night of his birth. The Bible records that the shepherds were there, but no wise men. No, the wise men followed the star that remained in the sky long after the child's birth. Theologians believe the child was actually somewhere between 41 days old and 2 years old.
The star appeared in the sky. The Magi tell King Herod about it and then the Magi follow the star toward the child. Scripture explains, (Leviticus 12), that Jesus was circumcized on the 8th day according to Jewish customs. Also, according to Jewish custom, a woman is cerimonial unclean for 41 days after she's had a boy, (80 days for a girl,) so with Jesus, he was presented to the Temple after the 40 days were up. It was then that an angel warned Joseph to flee with Mary and Jesus to Egypt. Soon after, King Herod ordered that all the baby boys under 2 years of age be killed in Bethlehem. Then King Herod is said to have died in 1 B.C. After that, Joseph and Mary return home. So, yes, Jesus was not a newborn, but was somewhere between 41 days and 2 years of age when the Magi visted him.
Did you notice that I said that records show King Herod died 1BC? That seems strange since most people consider the birth of Christ as the beginning of AD. Well, it has been determined through better documentation that we've gotten it wrong all these years. Christ was actually born somewhere around 2BC. A documentary called The Star of Bethlehem by producer Stephen McEveety, (The Passion of the Christ), explains in details about documents that have been found to prove that Harod died in 1BC and we know Biblically that Christ was born before Herod died, so our AD calender is a bit off. Oh well.
My first question today was how old was Jesus when the Magi arrived? OK, we've answered that. He was between the age of 41 days and 2 years old. The second question I pose is based on the song, There's a New Kid in Town. So what? Think about it for a moment and recall the story in your head. Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem for the Census. The time came for the child to be born. They arrived in the town and no one really gave them a second thought. Mary and Joseph were just two strangers among strangers. Yes, she was great with child, but it was just another baby, wasn't it? They didn't know, did they?
Consider yourselves blessed that you are able to read this story year after year after year, and throughout your lifetime, you will probably uncover more parts of the story as you mature and grow in Christ. Ponder these new revelations and cherish them as new found treasure. May you seek and find and know more and more how much God loves you and what all He did for you through the birth, death and ressurection of His Son, Jesus Christ.
“There's a new kid in town and he's lying in a manger down the road. There's a new kid in town, but he's just another baby, I suppose. Heaven knows. There's a new kid in town. Here in Bethlehem.”
There's a new kid in town. So my second question was this, so what? Was that baby born in a stable really that important or was jhe ust another baby? Heaven knows the answer, and I hope you do too.
May you have a blessed New Year.