January 6, 2009

Epiphany

The 12 Days of Christmas are now over and this day, Epiphany, we remember the wise men of Matthew coming from afar following a star to find a child who they recognize as a king. They came bearing gifts.

The art piece is by Fabriano. I change out art on an easel in my house. I like making friends with art work. Art touches me, often judging me.

God made the stars for 'signs and seasons'. And here in Matthew God is bringing astrologers into Jesus' story. I posted several days ago about the phenomena of planets in our sky the month of December which made me think of the Magi following ... something.

Were there exactly three wise men? We are told of three gifts. The book Ben Hur names three kings and opens with a dramatic description of how they might have met and traveled together to Bethlehem, but there could have been a whole entourage.

If you were dramatizing the whole Advent season with nativity figures, your wise men would be off in a distance in your house progressing to Joseph and Mary - who would in December be progressing by Donkey to Bethlehem. And baby Jesus and the Shepherds wouldn't show up until Christmas Eve or Christmas day? Many, don't do gift giving until this day.

What ever came of these strangers in Jesus' story? Jesus began his ministering when he was 30. Were the shepherds and magi still alive? Did they hear of Jesus? In the silence of 30 years, I often wonder if the shepherds thought that night a bizarre event, maybe even embarrassed about their extravagance ... maybe the most passionate thing they ever did in their life.

I like to wonder and ponder.
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