The importance of the whole story about the Magoi (Matthew 2:1-12) is quite likely unknown by most Christians. That's because we've not spent much time learning about it, even though it is Scripture, Old Testament (Numbers 24:14-25; Micah 5:2-5; Isaiah 60:2-6) and very specific prophetic Scripture at that.
Oh, we all know and have visualized one way or another the "We Three Kings" Christmas carol, and have seen Nativity scene imagery like the above for the sum of our lives, but that's not the half of it. There's more... so much more to the story.
The more I think about it, the more I am astounded by the fact that the gentile Magoi who came out of the Parthian (Persian) Empire and made this tremendous journey did so after fervently holding to the prophet Daniel's detailed prophecy (given by the angel Gabriel in Daniel 9:24-26) concerning the coming of the Messiah for over 600 years, and waited generation after generation for a very specific sign in the skies, and all the while knowing the precise number of days until the Messiah's birth because of the details given in the prophecy. They knew how to count Hebrew years, and exactly how many days each year had. They know precisely when to look for the star.
And then once that sign appeared and the number of days had elapsed they rounded up the multiple parts of a large caravan and the water and provisions for the entire group's survival, plus the gifts for the object of their 500+ year devotion for what had to be a round trip of something well in excess of 1,900 miles across barren desert, mountains, marshes, rivers and wadis.... I stand here approximately two millennia and two decades later in complete awe just thinking about it.
The caravan was quite probably a round trip from Seleucia to Jerusalem and back, on foot and by beast of burden, of GENTILE believers coming from the Magoi's descendants of Nebuchadnezzar's Babylonian Empire, the Persian Empire, Alexander the Great's Empire, the Seleucid Empire to the Parthian Empire of the Roman Era.
That these GENTILES, these Magoi, had clung to and fervently believed in the exquisitely detailed God-breathed prophecy of Daniel concerning the coming birth of the Messiah for hundreds and hundreds of years, through all of the events, wars, and tumults that had occurred in this crossroads region of the known world, is without question the greatest account of the prophetic Word of God causing belief in the God of Israel among gentiles in history prior to the crucifixion, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Having been in those same Middle Eastern deserts, such a specifically purposeful journey undertaken 2,000 years ago is mind-boggling to me. These gentiles from the regions and lands of Israel's captivity knew the details of, believed in and all the while eagerly awaited the birth of the Messiah. And the Jews, for the most part, due to their disobedience and the spiritual blindness and deafness placed upon them by the Covenant of Moab, besides the Covenant of Horeb, (Deuteronomy 29) knew nothing of His coming.
And here we are, knowing in detail that the days of time which are left until the advent of Daniel's 70th Week are all but palpable... just stand in awe and in praise of God my brothers and sisters, just stand in awe and praise to be a living part of all this.