Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Those Wise Men are stiil travelling

Three guys that get a lot of press each December are those three familiar wise men that followed the star to see the infant Jesus over two thousand years ago. I have written before about how our culture has read more into these characters than the Bible teaches. For example, the Bible nowhere states that there were three of them. Tradition gives this number because of the three gifts they brought. That is not to say that there weren’t just two ancient travelers or perhaps even more than three.

Also, they weren’t really kings. I know the song says that…“We three kings of orient are…” In actuality they were more likely astronomers who studied the stars. This is why they took great interest in the star that ultimately led them (not the shepherds, they were pointed to the manger by the angels) to the Christ child.

And then there is the biggest misnomer of all. This is the one that brings these “three kings” to the manger where the baby Jesus laid while the shepherds worshipped. The Bible’s chronology would tell us that these men never came to the manger. They visited the Christ child when He was more of an infant and living in a house with Mary and Joseph. That is why I can’t stand seeing manger scenes, especially associated with a church, that have the wise men standing at the manger. They just shouldn’t be there!

As a result of making such a big deal about the “misinformation” surrounding the wise men, a bit of a Christmas tradition has begun in the church office. Last year, when the porcelain nativity was set up in the church office, each piece ended up finding its way all throughout the church. One of the wise men ended up in the fish tank in the Secondary Principal’s office (pictured). The wise men were found under wiper blades of staff member’s cars. The wise men were even found inside each stall in the women’s restroom in the church office. But it wasn’t just the wise men that were making the rounds. The Baby Jesus was even found hanging from the ceiling by masking tape dangling over the desk of the School Administrator. In fact, at the bottom of my stocking as I rummaged through its priceless goodies on Christmas morning all the way out in Pueblo, Colorado, I found the baby Jesus wrapped up in tissue paper (I wonder if He got frequent flier miles?).

This year I thought we were going to have a break from the nativity oddities of the previous Holiday Season. Due to the offices being scheduled for repainting in between Christmas and New Year’s, no one set up any of the Christmas decorations that usually adorn the office wing of the church. But to my surprise, when Laura and I returned from our traditional 2-night getaway where we always finish our shopping and do all of our wrapping, we noticed some visitors throughout the front of our house. Guess who? They were the wise men from the church office nativity scene but this time there wasn’t just three of them, there were six of them (after all, I said the Bible doesn’t limit the number of these travelers to just three). They were sitting in the flower pots, sticking out of bushes, and hanging from light posts. In fact, as I looked up there was even one of them staring down at me from the from the drain gutter. Those wise men really get around.

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