Those Magi were actually astrologers from the east. (Matt. 2:1, 2, NW; NE) Although astrology is popular among many people today, the practice is strongly disapproved in the Bible. Would God have led to the newborn Jesus persons whose practices He condemned?
Matthew 2:1-16 shows that the star led the astrologers first to King Herod and then to Jesus and that Herod then sought to have Jesus killed. No mention is made that anyone other than the astrologers saw the “star.” After they left, Jehovah’s angel warned Joseph to flee to Egypt to safeguard the child. Was that “star” a sign from God or was it from someone who was seeking to have God’s Son destroyed?
Note that the Bible account does not say that they found the babe Jesus in a manger, as customarily depicted in Christmas art. When the astrologers arrived, Jesus and his parents were living in a house. As to Jesus’ age at that time, remember that, based on what Herod had learned from the astrologers, he decreed that all the boys in the district of Bethlehem two years of age and under were to be destroyed.—Matt. 2:1, 11, 16.
Gift giving as part of the celebration; stories about Santa Claus, Father Christmas, etc.
The practice of Christmas gift giving is not based on what was done by the Magi. As shown above, they did not arrive at the time of Jesus’ birth. Furthermore, they gave gifts, not to one another, but to the child Jesus, in accord with what was then customary when visiting notable persons.
examine the account at Matthew 2:1-11 from the King James Bible: “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem . . . And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother.”
Notice that the account states just “wise men,” not “three wise men,” and that they first traveled from the east to Jerusalem, not to the birth city of Jesus, Bethlehem. By the time they finally reached Bethlehem, Jesus was a “young child”—no longer a baby—and no longer in a stable but in a house.
Also, while the King James Bible uses the words “wise men” in describing these visitors, other translations use “Magi” or “astrologers.” According to A Handbook on the Gospel of Matthew, the expression “wise men” translates “a Greek noun which originally referred to Persian priests who were experts in astrology.” And The Expanded Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words defines the word as “a wizard, sorcerer, a pretender to magic powers, a professor of the arts of witchcraft.”