Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Keeping the Faith - All means All (Second Week of Advent)

ronniemcbrayer300 green2KENTUCKY (12/8/13) - “We three kings of Orient are.” So begins a favorite carol of the Advent season about the “Wise Men” who visit the newborn Jesus. And so begins a tale that takes inaccuracy and historical revisionism to a whole new level. Reverend John Henry Hopkins, Jr., who wrote the carol a century and a half ago, should have known better.

First, we don’t know exactly how many kings there were. There could have been as few as two and up to almost any number. Tradition says that there were three (though some traditions mention twelve), and over time they were even given names: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. But these are apocryphal stories.

Second, they were not “kings” from the Orient. They were Wise Men, or put more accurately, Magi. The Magi were astronomers – primitive by today’s standards – who were on the cutting edge of scientific and philosophical knowledge in their day. So it may be best to view these Magi as the uncanny combination of scientists, philosophers, and theologians – but not kings. And such men called Persia home (modern day Iran), not the Far East.

Third, these men did not find the Christ child while “following yonder star.” They saw the star “in the East” or “at the rising of the sun,” but then proceeded west to Palestine. The star did not reappear until they were already in Bethlehem.

And finally, the Magi, technically, do not belong in the Nativity scene at all. They were latecomers to the Christmas party, maybe as late as Jesus’ second birthday. The quaking shepherds, singing angels, and lowing cattle had returned to life as normal long ago. On and on I could go ripping the veracity of this Christmas Carol apart, but that is not my intent.

“We Three Kings” remains one of my favorite Holiday hymns to bellow out this time of year. My critique of it is to simply point out that apart from the accumulations of questionable tradition, we know little about these mysterious men from the East. And these traditions prevent us from embracing what we can learn from them – for the journey of the Magi is a fascinating exercise in unexpected faith.

They came seeking the child who had been born king of the Jews, based almost entirely on the appearance of an enigmatic star. While history is rampant with explanations for this phenomena, one conclusion is certain: The Magi interpreted this unusual sign in the heavens as a clear communication that something extraordinary had taken place in the world. And even more extraordinary, these Persian sages applied their interpretation to the emergence of Jesus, the Jewish Messiah.

Why so astonishing? Not many people would launch out on a dangerous journey through the Middle East based solely on a spiritual hunch. Not many people would put their life on hold to prove their mystical intuitions to be true. And the most shocking of all, not many Persians (today’s Iranians) would worship at the feet (or manger) of a Jew. And not many Jews could abide by such a thing, either!

Yet, in God’s way, these all belonged together. Divisions of race, religion, nationality or ethnicity did not factor into the equation. This is a foreshadowing of what the Apostle Paul would say later. “In Christ,” he said, “there is no difference between Jew and Greek, slave and free person, male and female. You are all the same in Christ Jesus” (See Galatians 3). And “all” does mean “all.” All are welcome into the presence of the One who will “reconcile everything – all things in heaven and on earth to himself.”

So here is where the Magi teach us the wisest of their lessons: There are many barriers to overcome and great distances to cover in our journey of faith – “field and fountain, moor and mountain” to quote Reverend Hopkins – but when we get to where we are going, we will we welcomed in with open arms. There we will find the “King forever, ceasing never, over us all to reign.” And “all” surely means “all.”

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.

 

Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

In Other News...

McConnell, Whitfield, Miles Speak to Large Gathering at SITEX

HENDERSON, Ky. (10/25/14) ― In front of a standing room only crowd of supporters, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, U.S. Rep.… Read More

Dugan Best Recreation Center 40th Anniversary Celebration Oct. 27

OWENSBORO, Ky. (10/24/14) — The City of Owensboro invites the public to celebrate 40 year anniversary of the Dugan Best… Read More
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

Most Read This Week

October 20, 2014 7117

Uncle Lee's in Greenville is Closing Its Doors…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by www.unclelees.com
October 19, 2014 4832

Kentucky Energy Department Releases Virtual Solar…

in General News For All Sites by Dick Brown
October 21, 2014 3494

UPDATE: Pedestrian Struck by Vehicle on Shamrock…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Officer C.P. Haynie
October 22, 2014 3078

Hopkins County Grand Jury Indictments

in Hopkins News by Karen McKnight
October 21, 2014 3004

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Oct. 21, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
October 23, 2014 2972

Resident Returns Home to People Using Drugs,…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 20, 2014 2917

Man Charged for Assaulting Pregnant Wife

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 20, 2014 2779

Hopkins County Sheriff's Arrest Reports Released

in Hopkins News by Sheila Hopper
October 22, 2014 2467

Convicted Felon Charged for Handgun Possession…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
October 22, 2014 2384

Failure to Signal Ends in Drug Arrest

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department

Stories Trending Today

October 24, 2014 1730

Central City Man Charged with Sexual Assault on…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Chris Cooper
October 24, 2014 1583

Woman Arrested for Allegedly Reporting Check…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 23, 2014 1519

Don Everly to be Part of Rock and Roll Hall of…

in Top News For All Sites by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
October 24, 2014 1467

Miners Turn Out in Madisonville for…

in Top News For All Sites by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
October 24, 2014 1318

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Oct. 24, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
October 24, 2014 1206

Family Looking for 'Runner'

in Hopkins News by Lisa Crook
October 24, 2014 1094

Baldwin, Crist and Saint Selected to 2014 Second…

in Hopkins Sports by Troy Crist
October 24, 2014 1092

County Renews Career Advancement Lease

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
October 24, 2014 1035

Tail Light Out Traffic Stop Turns to Drug Arrest

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 23, 2014 819

Security Officer Offers Identity Theft Protection…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News

SurfKY News Group, Inc.
Corporate Office & Studio
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431
270.452.2727 (phone)
  •  270.452.2249 (fax)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social fbsocial twsocial yt
social gpsocial flrsocial rss