To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common--this is my symphony.
~William Henry Channing

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Just think about it for a minute.
They were court advisers along the same lines as Joseph and Daniel. They probably knew about astrology and spent time studying the sky and stars. And one night, there was something unusual in the sky. So unusual in fact that they began to search out what it could possibly mean. They discover a prophecy that declares the star will be a sign that a king has been born.
Their curiosity is aroused. They want to see this King that the heavens have declared. They pack up and head out on a journey...hard pressed in their spirits to find the King of the Jews...compelled to worship what they have never seen.
The Bible doesn't tell us how long their journey took. What we do know is that there were no trains, buses or cars. No fast way to get where they were going. Can you imagine it? This caravan of wise men, servants and animals? It probably lasted days, weeks, months. They charted and plotted their course according to a star in the night sky. Possibly resting during the day and forging ahead in the dark hours of night.
Finally, they arrive, dusty and tired. Maybe they went to the market place.
Where is he?
Finding no answer, maybe they continued to the court yards of the palace.
Where is he? Where is he who has been born King of the Jews?
Their excitement catches through the crowd.
Where is he?
The flame of the anticipation spreads and word of the Magi's quest begins to cause a stir. Others begin to ask the same question.
Where is he?
Soon, everyone is troubled by this question. Even Herod becomes agitated and gathers his own priest and counsel together demanding an answer.
Where is he?
Finally, finally an answer is given. He's to be born in Bethlehem.
Go, you wise men. Search until you find this child. And then send word to me that I may worship to, Herod orders them slyly.
Blue sky gives way to the pink of sunset. Evening descends and the night sky reveals again the amazing star that began their saga. Eyes lifted to the heavens, they walk, guided by it's light.
The star comes to rest over a house.
Their hearts begin to pound. They are filled with a great joy and rejoice.
Stumbling to the door, laden with gifts, they knock and call out for entrance.
Please, may we come in? We've seen his star...please, we know it's late...we just need to see...
And there on her lap or maybe playing at her feet is the child.
They crowd into the room, silent now. The laughter fading as they gaze with wonder. Soft baby skin glows in the fire light. Cooing and gurgling, plump with health.
So ordinary.
So normal.
But suddenly they are overwhelmed. Tears begin to fall. Speechless, something stirs within. The urgency that had impressed upon them the need to search now reveals truth.
Not ordinary.
Not normal.
And they fall on their faces and worship.
Can you just imagine? Can you imagine their conversation? As they gathered around the little one maybe Mary told them about this visit she'd had from an angel. Maybe Joseph gently touched her shoulder and told of how an angel and come and told him not to be afraid to take her for his wife. Maybe they told of their journey for the census and how there had been no place to stay except this stable that was offered as shelter. Maybe they told them of the shepherds who had come to see them the night of the child's birth.
Shaken, they offer gifts. Again, another prophecy fulfilled by their treasures of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Exhausted and elated they fall asleep only to be warned in a dream not to share their discovery with Herod.
Here, their story ends. The Bible simple says they departed to their own country by another way.
I wonder though, if through out their life the memory of the magic and wonder of that night returned to fill their soul anew?
I wonder if thirty odd years later they began to hear stories of someone named Jesus of Nazareth who healed the lame and gave sight to the blind? Who walked on water and raised the dead?
I wonder if they heard of his death?
Of his Resurrection.
I wonder if they heard these things and the memory of that little baby came together and they realized who they had seen?
Is this why we experience such a sense of wonder this time of year? The magic of that moment...when God stepped into time and space...lingers two thousand years later. Forever changing the world.