Writing the story of Adrina, the Magi’s wife, for Gaze Upon Jesus, I discovered that what we DON’T know of the Magi is far more than what we DO know. The account in Matthew gives us only the bare bones of a story:
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod,
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage . . .
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
We don’t know who they were. The names Melchior, Balthazar, and Caspar were first found in a Greek manuscript almost five hundred years later.
We’re not sure where they came from. Some scholars say as close as Petra. Others from far-flung regions of Persia, Arabia, or Africa.
We don’t even know how many wise men visited Jesus. The gospel account only indicates three gifts, not three men. There could have been two . . . or twelve.
There is even debate on the year of their visit and the exact appearance of the star.
As writer, all this debate gave me the freedom to imagine Adrina’s story — a story of courageous woman who travels with her husband, an astronomer from the kingdom of Persia, to find the prince of peace foretold in the stars.
Adrina looks upon Jerusalem, Herod’s court, and the child Jesus with the eyes of a foreigner. She is amazed and astounded that the child they find was born not to a queen in a palace, but to a poor woman in a stable. She does not understand Mary’s trust in her God, because Adrina has known only gods of fear and sacrifice. In the end, Adrina’s courage prompts her to risk all to save the Holy family from the rage of Herod, only to find that the God of Mary and Joseph is one to be trusted, not feared.
Someday, I would love to turn Adrina’s story into a full length novel. When I do, I’ll let you know!
Until then, you can find my biblical fiction on Amazon and at your independent bookstores:
The Well: The Samaritan woman at the well meets Jesus and is transformed, but the story of her daughter, Mara, is just beginning. Does encountering Jesus mean getting a happily-ever-after ending, or will her belief in the Messiah lead Mara to a heartbreaking decision?
The Thief: A Jewish girl and a Roman centurion witness a miracle and are drawn into the events of the passion and crucifixion of Jesus. Nissa and Longinous—both damaged souls looking for healing—must decide what to believe about Jesus. How can he save them, when he can’t even save himself?
The Tomb, A Novel of Martha: Martha of Bethany is transformed from the sister who is ‘worried and anxious about many things’ to the woman who goes to meet Jesus on the road after her brother has died and says to him, “even now, I know that whatever you ask of God, He will give you.”