Sunday, January 5, 2014

Another Road

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, "Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage." When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:

`And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd my people Israel.'"

Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage." When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road. Matthew 2:1-12

From Joseph's Diary

Visitors came last night as the sun was setting. They were like no one I have ever seen, and as they moved through the narrow winding streets, a crowd gathered fascinated by these strangers. Their robes were regal, shimmering with threads of gold and silver. Their headdresses were embellished with jewels that glistened in the slanting sunlight. They smelled like jasmine and oranges processing slowly as their helper ran ahead to find our dwelling. If they were surprised by our little baby in a stable, they made no mention. It seemed like the whole town was leaning in to find out what the strangers were up to.

They bowed low, and said incantations in their language. We smiled. not knowing else to do. Mary held the baby close as if she was afraid they would snatch him away. Then they spoke in Aramaic, and told us they were from far away in the east, having followed the star. They showed us charts and drawing of the night sky and told our little boy was a king. They gave him great, expensive gifts. Mary started to cry at the generosity, opulence and abundance. We were both shocked and rendered speechless. I finally got my voice back, and thanked them, inviting them to stay for meal. They sat, right where they were, and joined us for some food, talking late into the might like old uncles. They left by first light, telling me their God had warned them not to return to the palace, they headed out on a less familiar road. Day by day, I am amazed at how my life has changed, and cannot imagine what God has for us ahead.

The Collect

O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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