The Commute of the Magi

The Magi were commuters. (Matthew 2:1-12)

Think about it. They traveled from their homes to Jerusalem, visited Jesus, and then returned home. Today they could take a bus from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, but they would have to contend with security checkpoints. (Of course, back then the Magi had Herod to deal with.)

The Magi carried three gifts to the newborn Jesus--gold, frankinsence, and myrrh. If I am to follow their example, I should carry three gifts of my own during my commute: kindness, awareness, and compassion.

  1. Kindness. This is a great gift. Just as gold signified Jesus' kingship, kindness is a sign of your magnanimity. So be kind during your commute. Smile when you make eye contact with someone and wish them a good day. Let someone go in front of you. Offer up your seat for someone else.
  2. Awareness. Frankinsence symbolized Jesus' role as high priest, as the intercessor between humanity and God. When we travel with awareness, we can see God during the moments of our commute. Maybe it's during a moment of silent prayer on the train. Maybe it's a good song we listen to that brings us joy. Or maybe it's a friendly interaction we have with someone along the way. The gift of awareness is the gift of finding God in all things.
  3. Compassion. Myrrh was used during burials, so it is thought that myrrh foreshadowed Jesus' Death. When we travel with compassion, we die to ourselves. We make other people's suffering our own. This gift requires awareness--we need to be able to see when others are suffering--so that we can bestow upon them the gift of kindness and relieve their suffering. Just as Jesus' Death brought us new life, our death to our self brings kindness to others.

As you travel, share the gifts of kindness, awareness, and compassion with others. They may just identify for others the Christ who lives in your heart.

Giotto, The Adoration of the Magi, c.1320