This is the 15th entry in the series, God, the Love Story about walking the path through autumn to Christmas.
In silence King David and I walked side by side. I had many questions for him, but he seemed so determined to arrive at the manger in time that I supposed he didn’t want to waste a minute chatting. I was grateful just to be near him. By his gate and his being David revealed himself to me. Do you know what I mean? When you are near someone, how if you try, you can pick up their vibrations, vibrations of attitude and experiences that emanate from deep within. Well, maybe it helped to know David’s psalms. I had memorized as many as my brain or time would allow.
As dusk fell upon us stars appeared in the sky. It was beautiful! Hundreds and hundreds of stars forming all sorts of constellations. I tried to see if I could recognize any of them, even the big dipper which is the very easiest to find, when David grabbed my hand. “Please, there is no time to look at the stars, the path is coming to an end; look, here are my friends let us join them.”
Sure enough right in front of us was the end of my beloved road and three men wearing long colorful tunics and golden turbans. Before I could ask how we would find our way with no road, David pulled me over to meet the three kings! They looked just like they do in the story books. “Where have you been?” one king asked in an obviously irritable tone of voice.
“I’m sorry, my little companion here had a lot to learn and it took time. Where is the star?”
The magi pointed to a large glowing star the likes of which I have never seen in my life and said, “Come quickly, let us continue our journey.”
By now I could not contain myself. I had to ask, “King David, how did these men know what the star would lead them to?”
He replied, “When they started their pilgrimage in Persia, you may know it as Iran, and the star first appeared, they were told that the star would take them to the king of the Jews so they followed it.”
Curious, I asked, “What could they benefit by seeing a king of another country so far away from theirs? Why would they want to worship a baby who could do nothing for them?”
David didn’t reply. The kings were walking so fast I had to jog from time to time just to keep up.
But walking fast didn’t keep me from thinking. These are strange men indeed. They are Persian, barbarians; they have nothing in common with the Jews. What could a Jewish infant king do for them? Won’t they be surprised to see him in a manger and not in a castle? How long will they stay?
Then I remembered something and tugged at David’s belt after I caught up with him. “King David!” I said, “I don’t think we should be walking with these men. They are going to bring much danger to the infant Christ when they tell Herod that they are looking for a rival king! Let’s leave them now! I don’t want Mary and Joseph to hate me!”
King David was nice enough to answer me, “Relax my child. By now Mary has learned that danger is an illusion. God will protect her and certainly her infant Son. She will not blame us, or even the magi.”
Having broken his precious silence already, I asked more, “King David, don’t you know that stars go from west to east and we are going from north where these Persian’s came from, south to Jerusalem. This can’t be a star. Also, we can see it during the day. No one can see stars in daylight. And a star could never point out as small a thing as one little town or a little barn or especially a baby in the barn.”
“Shhh!” David exhorted me to stop the questions and I did as we kept walking fast but in silence. Many hours later, we all paused for a water break. Then kind King David pulled me aside and whispered,
“God neither sent these men prophets nor angels because like the Jews they would not have believed them, but rather he sent something familiar and nonthreatening to their sense of reason, a star. Thus little by little God drew these men to greater and greater knowledge. This so-called star was sent to Persia to bring these three men to the manger to confirm to the Jews what their own prophets foretold. And as for Herod, don’t fret; driving this holy family into Egypt was important to God. It was to recall Jacob’s (a.k.a. Israel) beloved son Joseph who was driven into Egypt by hatred and there saved all [the tribes] of Israel. What man intends for evil, God uses for good.”
One of the magi then came to fetch us, “We must be going, come quickly.”