I do not think that popular sentiment has come anywhere near close to granting those extraordinary travelers, the Magi, the honor they truly deserve. These “watchers of the sky” must have been divinely inspired, in addition to being intellectually gifted, to have enough faith to leave the comforts of their homeland and embark on what must have been an extremely arduous journey.
The Magi were guided by a star, not a map. They were responding to a belief, not a specific invitation. They were willing to disrupt their lives to venture into the unknown without any assurance that their journey would take them to their destination.
The Magi are prominently featured on Christmas cards. They happily travel three in number, guided by a star, bringing gifts for the newborn babe. It all seems so beautifully scripted. They are easy to take for granted, appearing to be an inevitable part of the Christmas picture. T. S. Eliot, in his poem, Journey of the Magi, however, describes their pilgrimage in most unsentimental terms:
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelter,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.