Friday, December 28, 2012
Friday, December 28, 2012
Then Herod summoned the wise men to see him privately. He asked them the exact date on which the star had appeared and sent them on to Bethlehem with the words, 'Go and find out all about the child, and when you have found him, let me know, so that I too may go and do him homage.' Having listened to what the king had to say, they set out. And suddenly the star they had seen rising went forward and halted over the place where the child was. The sight of the star filled them with delight, and going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and falling to their knees they did him homage. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.
I have always thought the wise men were older, in their 50s or 60s, maybe older still. The story offers no hints other than to suggest they were learned in ancient arts of astronomy. That took time.
As a child, older people, grandmas and grandpas seemed to know things the rest of us didn’t. They looked at the world through eyes less driven by ego and the need to prove something.
They seemed more secure and relaxed with themselves and didn’t always feel the need to speak. They had less to protect or prove and could hear better.
Not all of them, but enough to make me think that had I met the wise men they would have reminded me of some of those older people I knew growing up.
I wanted to be like them. They were less about themselves and more open to receive life as it came them. They were also less concerned with making a name for themselves and more interested in my name.
Here lies some of the difference between Herod and the wise men. Herod was a driven, suspicious man, constantly on guard to protect his power and position. He saw threats everywhere and had no compunction against brutality stomping them out.
The wise men were protecting nothing. They came to see and receive, surrendering their bodies to the risk of a long journey. They risked their minds, too. Not knowing what they might find at the end of their search, their considered understandings of the world might be shattered by what they discovered.
Or they might find nothing at all and discover they had been fools for setting on the journey in the first place.
At the end of the journey, they found delight that their lives had been guided by a force beyond their own minds and decisions. They had been led to something, someone worthy of worship and fell on their knees.
They gave their gifts, of course, but their wisdom lies elsewhere. They received the gift to which the mystery of God had led them, and they worshiped.
Each new day comes, a gift from the One who leads us, too, even though we may know nothing of it. Somewhere today I want to receive the gift of this day to which I am led … and worship with delight.
Pr. David L. Miller