Matt Archbold graduated from Saint Joseph’s University in 1995. He is a former journalist who left the newspaper business to raise his five children. He writes for the Creative Minority Report.
So my neighbor has these three plastic wise men on his lawn and every day he moves them a little closer to the stable. They are forced to navigate their way through Snoopy, Frosty, and reindeer on their way to Christ.
Not much is known about these so-called wise men but I've got questions. Firstly, how do we know they were wise? These guys picked up and left everything they knew because they saw something shiny. This doesn't seem very wise to me. They turned out to be right on this one but it makes me wonder how many poorly conceived adventures these guys had gone on before stumbling into finding the Son of God.
And can we be honest here that the history of the wise men has been a little whitewashed? Look, when Columbus sailed the ocean blue and came to the Americas some things went down that he's not completely responsible for but we want to take away his day. But these wise men are celebrated and they inadvertently kicked off a baby slaughter! A baby slaughter!
These mooks were stopping and asking for directions (kind of an unmanly thing to do if you ask me but they were in the desert so...). So they stumble into Herod's kingdom, asking, 'Where is the infant king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage.' Ok, so let's just get this right. They enter Herod's kingdom who was actually the king at the time and start asking about an infant king? Seriously? This seems a tad brainless to me. What did they think was going to happen? Kings don't tend to like pink slips.
Insert baby slaughter here.
To be clear, Herod asked them to come back to him after they had found the infant King of the Jews. And one has to figure these guys were just the guys to actually do it because God thought these guys were so completely incompetent that he had to tell them in the form of a dream not to go back and give Jesus' exact location to Herod.
How do we know they were kings? I think it's because nobody else would've been able to take off from work for months on a whim except a king. They didn't have good vacation plans back then. No unions, I guess.
And another thing, they didn't exactly make good time on their trip because even though everyone has the wise men approaching the stable, they didn't make it there the night of Jesus' birth. In fact, Matthew writes that they came to see Jesus in a house. So these guys took their sweet time getting there. I'm thinking they hit every rest stop on the way. They should have adopted the rule that I employ when we go visit my mother three hours away. None of the kids are allowed to drink anything at all before getting in the van because there will be no stopping at rest stops. If some of them faint due to dehydration, well, hey, at least they'll be quiet until they regain consciousness.
But anyway, when they finally get to see Jesus they bring gold, frankincense, and myrrh. To be clear, myrrh was typically used to embalm the dead. OK? Worst gift ever for a baby. Oh what a lovely baby, here's some embalming fluid.
So to recap -they felt the calling of Jesus, stumbled on the way to Him, caused pain and sorrow to many in their wake, and offered inappropriate gifts to Jesus. It gives me hope because I too stumble on my way to Him, cause pain, and know that my efforts to please Him are likely insufficient. My heroes.
I'll have time to contemplate the wise men for months since my neighbors don't typically take down their Christmas decorations until mid-March.