On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
Matthew 2:11 & 12
The youth in our church know well from our annual Christmas Bible studies and lessons that however many Magi there were, they entered a house, probably two years after the birth, and maybe in Egypt, rather than Christmas night with the shepherds. Theirs was a journey of searching and following, and one we are reminded did not end with finding Jesus, but continued after. The same is true of the first disciples. Jesus is not a guru they visited for a single revelation. Rather, Jesus sought and found them, called them, and developed a relationship with them to send them out to keep telling the story. And so it is for us.
We are not people who have met Jesus only. We are people following him, like the first disciples, like the Magi. If we are to be disciples (Greek for followers) and wise men and women, ours must be a faith that follows. Jesus is not a destination, but a guide on our journey, a friend and traveling companion. The first Christians were called, "followers of the Way," Christ's new way. Christ is more than the moment of birth, or of his suffering or death, his ministry and miracles, and even his resurrection. Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us in all his life and in all of ours. And so Jesus is more than the baby we find in the manger.
As we approach the time of Epiphany, when we celebrate the arrival of the Magi, it's a reminder that Christ is more than a moment or a destination. We follow Christ. Christ calls us to a new way. Christ goes with us on the journey. So when we move beyond Christmas to a new year, still battling a worldwide virus and in all our uncertainties that make us feel so small and helpless amidst turmoil and violence and division, we trust God to lead us as we stand to be peacemakers, to be neighbors, to love our enemies, and to work as patient healers as we listen and love in compassion. The work looms large, but Emmanuel is with us. God is with us on the journey.