After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, some philosopher/astrologer dignitary types from somewhere farther east (possibly modern day Iran, Iraq, India or China) arrived in Jerusalem wanting to know, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We’ve been studying the stars and saw the cosmic sign that he was born. We want to pay homage to him.”
This was news to King Herod, and not the good kind. In fact, it had all of Jerusalem in a clamor. He called together all the top dogs of the church and the law and asked where this appointed child was supposed to be born, according to the ancient texts.
“In Bethlehem, Judea,” they replied. “An ancient prophet wrote, ‘Don’t belittle yourself, Bethlehem. Stand tall among the rest of Judea because you are going to be the hometown of a ruler who will guide my people, Israel.’”
Behind closed doors, Herod met with the visiting dignitaries and ascertained the exact time the star they mentioned had appeared. He sent them on to Bethlehem with instructions to, “Search out the child, and as soon as you find him, send news to me so I can come and pay homage too.”
With this, they left, and they were able to follow the celestial body right to the place where Jesus was residing. It just hung over the place. They could hardly believe their eyes and were overjoyed. When they entered the house, they saw Jesus with his mother, Mary, and they got down on hands and knees and pledged their confidence and service. Then, the first Christmas presents: gold, frankincense and myrrh—all really expensive stuff in those days.
Wise men that they were, after a dream warned them against Herod, they decided not to go back the same way they came, avoiding contact with Herod entirely.