I hope you all managed to have a good Christmas, and despite ongoing restrictions due to Covid, you managed to spend some time with your nearest and dearest.
I hope you also managed to attend a Carol Service (or two!) or a Nativity Play, or you might even have watched Midnight Mass from Kings College. During all these services we hear various readings from the Bible which come together to tell the Christmas story, including the arrival of the Wise Men to the Christ Child.
It’s probably safe to say that the story of these almost mystical characters visiting the Christ child at Bethlehem, has become somewhat lost in the romantic myth displayed on our Christmas cards, but our focus should be on what the story is actually saying to us.
So, we all enjoy singing the carol, “We three kings of Orient are”. But actually, these men weren’t actually kings, they were scholars and astrologers.
You might be familiar with the names of these travellers, Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. Although there’s no mention of the places they came from in the bible, art through the ages has Melchior represented as an old man, grey haired with a long beard who offers the gold. Often, Caspar is depicted as young and without a beard and who gives the frankincense, Balthasar is the one who has African origins with a newly grown beard on him and he brings the myrrh. And of course, one of the significant things about this story, is that they are the first gentiles, non Jews, to acknowledge and worship the Messiah, symbolising that Jesus had been sent for everyone, not just the Jewish nation.
Their journey of exploration begins when they see a strange new star in the sky, and despite the risks they take on their long journey, they eventually come into the presence of Jesus where they offer him precious gifts.
Through these almost mystical visitors to Jesus, we can perhaps see our own journey of faith, a journey which will no doubt also involve an element of risk and vulnerability, a journey that leads us to Jesus, where we give him all that we have to offer. Our hearts.
So, on twelfth night, the Feast of the Epiphany, as all the decorations are taken down and packed away in the loft or the garage until next year, let us remember the Christmas story continues, as we look forward to Jesus being presented in the temple to Simeon and Anna, the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, the gathering of his disciples and of course, travelling on our journey with Him to the Easter story and beyond.
May I wish you all a blessed 2022, with all the possibilities and opportunities it holds.
Love and Blessings,
Rev Mandy x