World Of Christmas
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Legend of the Magi

Three Kings or the Wise Men are vital part of the Nativity scenes and birth of Christ reenacted in churches on Christmas. They traveled for miles to see baby Jesus and brought him the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Known as the Magi (scholars, priests or astrologers), these three men were first mentioned in the New Testament as the 'wise men from the East'. They followed the divine star that led them to the child Jesus to worship the Messiah and brought gifts for him. Since, these men were from different cultures and bore rich gifts that were laden on many camels, they caused quite a stir in Jerusalem and were highly regarded. They came inquiring about the newborn 'King of the Jews'. What made their arrival even stranger was that coming of the foreign kings and gentiles bearing gifts of gold and frankincense for the promised Messiah was foretold in the scriptures.

Accord to the legend, there were three Magi and they were so talked about that they attracted the attention of King Herod too. Herod the Great was one of the kings sharing a family name of 'Herod' who held the throne at the time of Jesus's birth. He was evil, tyrannical and delighted in torturing his Jewish subjects. He was very suspicious and levied heavy taxes on his people. When he came to know that some distinguished visitors have entered his kingdom, he consulted his priests to know more about the ancient prophecy that predicted the birth of Christ in Bethlehem and he was to be the future ruler of Israel. Then, he invited Magi to his court and told them that the Messiah was born in the city of Bethlehem and asked them to find the child and inform his whereabouts to the king so he could also go and worship the child.

The Magi who were being led by the divine star followed Herod's directions and the Christmas Star and reached Bethlehem. There, they found Virgin Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus in a lowly stable. They worshipped the Child and gave Him the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. As they fell asleep that night, they were warned in the dream not to go back to Jerusalem and King Herod. Similarly, Joseph and Mary were asked to leave Bethlehem immediately with the Holy Child until Herod dies. Thus, Magi took a different route to their homes and Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt with the baby before Herod realized that Magi had given him a slip and ordered all the children under two to be put to death.