Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Witness: The Man from the East
They call me many things.
King, but I rule over nothing, not even my wife.
Magician, but I make no magic.
Wise man, but the more I learn, the less I know.
Astrologer, but the stars know me more than I them.
Prophet, but I only study what the prophets have written; I make no prophecies of my own.
Still, they listen, and they ask. Some fear my answers.
The prophets agree that this was the time, and not only the old Hebrew scrolls left behind in Babylon.
The time, long foretold, had come.
Even the heavens spoke this truth. And we followed the sign of the heavens.
And so I went, to see the king who would rule over hearts.
The king who would rule forever.
The journey was long. Too long. Many times I thought to turn back. But I, or my camel, kept on.
One, then the other, joined me. They too were on the same mission, the same journey, the same search.
To see this king.
We each carried a gift. A gift of wealth, a gift of worship, a gift of homage.
Around our campfires, we would speak in spite of the sand between our teeth. We shared our learning, our knowledge, our understanding. We each had a piece, but even together the pieces did not make a whole.
Wise men, indeed.
Our only wisdom as to follow the sign of the heavens.
When we reached Judea, we were perplexed why this king would be born in a land ruled by an iron fist of Rome and the venality of a Hasmonean king. Even the priests in the temple at Jerusalem were uneasy. They, too, knew the signs, but too loud a whisper could lose you your priestly head.
We slipped away, quietly, at night, right before the gates were closed.
We found him in the place the call Bethlehem, the house of bread. An odd name for the City of David. But even in our countries, bread is life.
We find our king, the king to rule our hearts for all time.
We find him in a hovel for animals.
And yet, when we saw him, we knew. You could not help but know.
The prophecies had been fulfilled in a most unexpected way, yes.
But they had been fulfilled.
We joined the others on bended knees. We offered our gifts, which seemed so humble in his presence.
And we worshipped, in the murmur of human prayers and the song of a dove, under the sign of the heavens.
Related: Witness: The Innkeeper
Witness: The Shepherd
Illustration: Mosaic of the Three Wise Men, Church of St. Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna, Italy, 6th century A.D.