There are times that we fail to meet our expectations in life, which causes disappointment, and at times, hopelessness.
You may have carefully prepared for your retirement to be financially secure to live comfortably. However, something went wrong with your investment portfolio. You ended up working beyond the retirement age.
You expect that you spend the rest of your life with your spouse closer to your grandchildren. However, separation, marital problems, and death change the dynamics of your relationships.
You worked hard for your children, you raised them to faith, expecting that they become productive citizens and responsible persons. However, they grew up problematic, led astray by influences and have become distant to family and God.
What do we do when we do not meet our expectations when we’re let down and discouraged? The journey of the Magi may offer us some insights.
Like us, the Magi also have their expectations. They were following the star to find the newborn king. When they arrived in Jerusalem, they stopped at the palace. They expected that the baby, being a king, would be born in the royal place with jubilant spectators waiting outside to cheer for the family.
As a result, the Magi lost sight of the star. They began to operate using their human perspective. They encountered a challenge and an obvious temptation in the palace. Herod might have deceived them. He might have offered them fabulous rewards to locate the child. He might have tried to trick them that he too would pay tribute to the newborn king.
The Magi managed to overcome their doubt by refocusing on the promptings of the Divine wisdom. The Magi were not allured with the comfort and glitters of the palace. They were not discouraged that their expectations were not fulfilled.
The Magi resumed their journey. They saw the star moving on the path to Bethlehem. The Magi might have experienced a moment of obscurity. Who would think, using one’s logic that the king would be born in a dull and dreary place?
The story of the Magi reminds us that our expectations may be different from God’s will. However, even with failed expectations, let us continue to journey to our own path to Bethlehem. Let us journey with faith even though it does not appear at first that we can live with the new realities and circumstances of our life.
We will eventually see the hope that only Jesus can bring. This is the meaning of epiphany—discovery or manifestation of God.
While the Magi presented the child Jesus with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, the greatest gift they give the world is the faith to believe that God is always leading us to discover the genuine peace and meaning in life.
After their visit, the angel appeared on their dream, saying go back using a different way. Do not go back to Herod. After this Gospel story, We did not hear any more about the Magi. What did they do? Where did they go? There are no stories that claim precise details of their whereabouts.
We, the faithful complete the story. We identify with the journey of the Magi. We may not be able to always meet important expectations. Although frustrating, those circumstances may lead us to the manger, where we witness Jesus sharing our lowliness.
Like the angel prompting the Magi to go the opposite way, Jesus is directing us to a new path to discover the epiphany of our own lives. He will open windows of opportunities we never dreamed would open. God is going to exceed our expectations.
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