How old was Jesus when the magi got to Bethlehem to visit him?

Christmas pageants often show the shepherds leaving the stage to make room for the magi who have come to worship the newborn Jesus. Yet according to Matthew’s Gospel (the only one mentioning the magi) Jesus was probably significantly older by the time the magi found their way to him. This detail is suggested by the fact that King Herod “sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men” (Matthew 2:16) who had informed him previously of the star which rose heralding Jesus’ birth. Also interesting to note is that when the magi arrived, they found the baby Jesus with his mother Mary in a house, not a stable as we commonly picture it (Matthew 2:11). We mark their coming with the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6 at the end of the 12 Days of Christmas.

Ann Naffziger

Ann Naffziger

Ann Naffziger is a scripture instructor and spiritual director in the San Francisco Bay area. She has has written articles on spirituality and theology for various national magazines and edited several books on the Hebrew Scriptures.