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.

button coupons
button classifieds

In Other News...

Fifth Annual Murray Half Marathon Set for Saturday, April 18, 2015

MURRAY, Ky. (12/21/14) — The Murray Calloway Endowment for Healthcare’s annual Murray Half Marathon will be held… Read More

MCCH Home Care Participates in Annual Festival of Trees

CALLOWAY COUNTY, Ky. (12/22/14) — Staff with the Home Care unit at Murray-Calloway County Hospital recently… Read More

Most Read This Week

December 16, 2014 11118

Coal Miner Fatally Injured in Underground Mining…

in Top News For All Sites by Dick Brown
December 17, 2014 8035

Elderly Couple Found Shot to Death in Muhlenberg

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
December 17, 2014 6923

Three Men Charged with Burglary

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
December 19, 2014 4990

Armstrong Mine to Layoff 39 by End of Day

in Top News For All Sites by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
December 19, 2014 4708

Dawson Springs Man Charged with Sexual Abuse of…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Detective Sean McCance
December 18, 2014 4299

Cat Scratching over Dog Ownership Escalates

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
December 16, 2014 4296

Highway Crews Pre-Treating Roadways for Potential…

in Hopkins News by Keith Todd
December 19, 2014 4251

Woman Flown to St. Mary's after Two-Car Collision

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
December 16, 2014 4036

KFWC Proposes 2015-2016 Deer Season Dates and…

in General News For All Sites by Department of Fish and Wildlife
December 19, 2014 3621

Vehicle Fire Causes Traffic Back-Up on Pennyrile

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis

Stories Trending Today

December 20, 2014 2090

KET’s Kentucky Life Segment to Feature Old…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
December 21, 2014 1727

UK Family Doctor Gives Back, Stays Grounded…

in General News For All Sites by Allison Perry and Elizabeth Adams
December 22, 2014 1693

Earlington Church Toy Drive Blesses Community…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
December 21, 2014 1532

AG Conway Announces 2014 Keep Kentucky Kids Safe…

in General News For All Sites by Daniel Kemp
December 21, 2014 1521

Final 'Frozen' Performance Set for Tonight at LWC

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
December 21, 2014 1361

Edumedics LLC to Expand Louisville Headquarters,…

in General News For All Sites by Office of the Governor
December 21, 2014 1323

Follow Safe Sleep Recommendations for Infants

in General News For All Sites by Beth Fisher
December 21, 2014 1308

NCM Motorsports Park to Break Ground on Kimberlee…

in General News For All Sites by National Corvette Museum
December 21, 2014 1130

Legislator's Log - Week of Dec. 21, 2014

in General News For All Sites by Brent Yonts
December 21, 2014 1126

Dave Says - Dec. 21, 2014

in General News For All Sites by Dave Ramsey

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