Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Meditation On The Wise Men

One of my favorite carols is about the wise men who came to Bethlehem following the star. They came from the orient. They were learned men. The were astrologers. When they saw the new star, signifying the birth of a very important child, they were intrigued.

The wise men were humble enough to know when something astonishing was happening and by interpretation at some point they knew it was the birth of the Kind of the Jews. Before the journey they prepared their gifts to be presented to this king. Each of the three, picked a present to carry on what must have been a long, dangerous journey with only the star to guide them. They were in constant movement. They slept when they could, mainly in the daytime because they had to follow the star's light at night. They were tired, dirty, hungry at times but they persisted because they believed that they would find what they sought if they continued.

Finally, the wise men arrive in Jerusalem. At that time the area was under Roman authority. King Herod was ruler. And, if you read Mattthew chapter 2 you will find out that he was very mean and devious.

The wise men are important enough that they get an audience with King Herod, himself. "Where is the King of the Jews?" they ask. This causes pandemonium to break out. Herod calls in his people: the chief priests and scribes and asks where Christ should be born.

The answer is Bethlehem, in the land of Judah. "...for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel." The wise men receive this and are directed onward on their journey. I don't imagine they spend much more time in Jerusalem. They are very focused in their quest. There journey continues.

At last the star stops moving. They rejoice. They know they are at the right location. They go inside and they see the young child and Mary, his mother. They fall down and worship the child, Christ the Lord. Then they present their gifts each one brings a very good gift.

Being wise, they do not return to visit Herod (see Matthew, chapter 2) but go back to their country another way. The wise men came prepared to worship and to give.

Finding the child was worth the time, energy, danger and journey because they were filled with joy and got to experience the presence of the miracle of the child born King of the Jews.

Some of you have been on journeys that lead you away from finding the Christ child, but now you are hungry, thirsty and tired and you are looking for something out of this world. You are ready to start the journey. Prepare your gift and prepare your heart to follow the light, as the wise men did long ago. You won't be disappointed at journey's end.

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