For a few more days, I will share my "Christmas Musings," inspired by "The Miracle of the Christmas Child." Today I continue to flesh out the characters in this beloved account of the birth of Christ, breathing life into a small portion of the story.
Galumph galumph, galumph...the Magi had been traveling for weeks. Nothing but sand under their feet, and stars in the sky above. Though the heavens were scattered with twinkling stars, one stood out amongst them all. THE star. The largest and brightest in the sky. The one leading them to the King of the Jews. The Magi had done their work, pouring over the ancient manuscripts, studying the astronomical charts, surveying and exploring the night sky. And their work lead to one conclusion...follow the star. They must find the prophesied one.
And when they did, they must bring gifts. He, the writings revealed, was destined to be a great leader. What gifts would befit a king? "Gold, of course," confirmed one. "We must pay the homage due him," suggested another. "Frankincense would honor his purity." A third observed, "Great power brings great responsibility...and suffering. It is troublesome to be a ruler. Myrrh would sweeten his reign."
So, it was settled. The Magi were on their way, pursuing the mysterious star that had appeared many months before. Soon, it lead them to Jerusalem. They stopped to inquire. "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? We have seen His star in the East, and have come to worship Him." These strange men on camels, packed with treasures, dressed in fine silks and jewels...who were they?
Word came quickly to Herod and his court. Another King? Of the Jews? This was trouble....trouble indeed. Immediately he gathered the chief priests and scribes to question them. "Where do the ancient writings say this CHILD is to be born?" A sneer formed on his face as he said the word. The Jewish religious leaders answered immediately, "In Bethlehem of Judea! The prophets foretold, 'And out of you, Bethlehem, of Judah, the smallest of towns, will come a Governor, who will rule my people, Israel.'"
A servant was summoned to bring the Magi to the palace. By this time, their bellies were crying for food. Herod's offer of exotic delicacies pleased them, but his ingratiating tone did not. "You have come a long way. Please, sit down...take your fill of our fine food," pressed Herod politely. He went on to another subject. "Tell me, at what time did you first see the star?"
The oldest Magi spoke first, "It was many months ago when we first laid eyes on this wonder in the Heavens. We followed, and it faithfully lead us here.
"I wish to see this child who was prophesied long ago, but my duties are many. Go to Bethlehem and search for the babe, and when you have found Him, come back to report. I, too, desire to worship this King of the Jews."
The Magi glanced at each other, not sure of Herod's intentions, but they bowed politely, and quickly went on their way.
By now the sky had darkened, and the guiding star, brighter in contrast, directed them south and west. Slowly they advanced, until the rays focused on a humble abode on the outskirts of the town. Cautiously, they alighted from their camels, and taking their costly cargo, made their way to the entrance. Joseph, hearing the commotion, went to investigate. His visage change from concern to puzzlement, and finally, to wonder, as he invited them inside.
The child, asleep on his mother's shoulders, soon awakened, and with a wide-eyed expression, watched the Magi humbly bow before Him. They presented their gifts: Myrrh, the panacea for human suffering; gold, identifying the "worth" of the child; and frankincense, the High Priest's fragrant offering to the Most High God.
Mary and Joseph were poor folk. They had never seen such an array of fine gifts. The awe and reverence of the wise men were just as astonishing as their offerings. By why should the couple be amazed? Did not the Messenger of God come to Mary, announcing the fulfillment of the long awaited prophecy? "...He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest...and of his kingdom there shall be no end." The wonder surrounding the event was still present. Truly, Mary and Joseph would be in awe for the remainder of their lives, as they watched God's promises unfold for this young child.
For a few minutes, the room was filled with an unmistakeable radiance. All present felt the power of this scene. Slowly, the Magi rose from their knees, bowed to the Christ child, nodded in gratitude to his parents, and stepped quietly out the door and into the night.