• Fran

    It was the magi or wise men or astrologers, the exact number of which is not given, who visited Jesus when he was a “young child” in a “home” (Matt. 2:11).

    Only the shepherds visited Jesus as a “baby” when he was in the “manger” (Luke 2:8-20), bearing him no gifts.

    All wonderful gifts (including life) come from God, as well as his son, Christ Jesus.

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  • Susan

    My Italian friend who shared this tradition with us when we were both living in central america said that one rendition of La Befana story is that the magi enroute to find Jesus stopped to ask La Befana where the Christ child was. She said she did not know. They invited her to come with them to find him, but she declined – she was too busy sweeping her house. After they left, filled with great regret, she gathered gifts and ran after them with her broom but only wandered, never able to find them or the child. But she gave gifts to the children whose paths she crossed. Maybe this is a regional adaptation to the story from the Venezia region!

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  • Elizabeth Kiphuth

    The only thing I would add to your friend’s story is that the Befana leaves gifts to the children she encounters in the hope that one of them is the Christ Child. Other than that, the story your friend told you is the one I heard growing up in Italy (southern Italy – Naples) and looking for the presents the Befana left me when I was a child. 🙂