Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Fayette | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Warren | Webster

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.

In Other News...

UPDATE - Multi-Agency Drug Investigation Leads to Owensboro Pharmacy

OWENSBORO, Ky. (8/22/14) — After determining that more than 50,000 prescription pills were illegally distributed,… Read More

Transportation Cabinet Resolves Failed Manhole Issue on Kentucky 2121/Southtown Boulevard

OWENSBORO, Ky. (8/22/14) — Work has ramped up this week to remedy problems caused by a failed manhole along the… Read More

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

August 21, 2014 6244

Muhlenberg Task Force on Trail of Home…

in News by Wes Miller
August 20, 2014 4102

Park Avenue Trespass Call Leads to…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
August 19, 2014 3709

Free Arthritis Exercise Program will be…

in News by Woody Maglinger
August 19, 2014 3614

'Another One Bites the 'Duct'

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
August 19, 2014 3613

Municipal Art Collection on Exhibit at…

in News by Mary Bryan Hood

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

August 20, 2014 4102

Park Avenue Trespass Call Leads to…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
August 21, 2014 2103

Pedestrian Struck on East Arch Street,…

in Top Stories by Officer Ryan Clark
August 20, 2014 2023

Dawson Springs Woman Arrested for Driving…

in Top Stories by SurfKY News
August 18, 2014 1507

Madisonville Firefighters Recognized for…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
August 20, 2014 1283

Theft at Pennyrile Park Apartments Leads…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

August 19, 2014 3709

Free Arthritis Exercise Program will be…

in News by Woody Maglinger
August 19, 2014 3613

Municipal Art Collection on Exhibit at…

in News by Mary Bryan Hood
August 19, 2014 1829

Owensboro Police Department to Host…

in News by Michael Hathaway
August 19, 2014 1189

‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ Campaign…

in News by Officer Michael Hathaway
August 20, 2014 1145

OCTC Faculty Earns National Honor

in News by Bernie Hale

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

August 19, 2014 3614

'Another One Bites the 'Duct'

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
August 19, 2014 3102

Drakesboro Woman Injured When Tree Falls…

in Top Stories by Martha Clark
August 21, 2014 2077

UPDATE: Injuries Sustained in Two-Vehicle…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
August 20, 2014 1944

Deterioration of Caney Station Cemetery…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
August 19, 2014 1803

Central City Lions Club Charity Auction…

in Top Stories by Dean Rowe

SurfKY News Group, Inc. Central Office & Printing Division
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431  •  270.452.2249 (fax)
Main Number: 270.452.2727 (phone)  •  Printing Division Direct Line: 270.821.8600 (phone)

SurfKY Owensboro News Bureau
920 Frederica St. / Suite 210  •  Owensboro, KY 42301  •  270.683-8060 (phone)


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

social 03social 04social 22social 21social 06