Archive for the ‘Three Kings’ Category

‘t (almost) is the season …

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

Once upon a time there were three wise men, they were Kings of the Orient; Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar were their names. They supposedly followed a star to Bethlehem. Now, this whole thing might have started out as a ‘let’s do something different tonight‘ venture, but since they lived in Persia and the star traveled a great distance East, they must have been convinced that something worthy of their effort lay at the end of their trip. They were not young men. They left prepared, carrying gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense. Maybe they walked, maybe they had camels to carry them, in any case, this must have been quite an undertaking. If we can assume that (at least according to Catholic teachings)  Jesus was born on December 24th – or maybe it was on the 25th – it was such a long time ago who really can tell, and we celebrate the feast of the Three Kings on January 6th, that must have been some pilgrimage. Well, at least they should have been spared snow and cold, given the location. But still.

So, how did we come from the story of the Three Kings adoring Baby Jesus in a manger to the Christmas of modern times you might ask? With headlines like “US stores opened early and offered steep discounts on Friday”, “It is regarded as an important test of how willing consumers are to spend”, the Christmas shopping season has officially been declared open. And in a shopping frenzy a man was trampled to death and many others were injured in a suburb of New York. How did we come from a story that began with three kings worshiping a newborn in a manger to this shop til we drop business oriented Christmas. It seems we got lost along the way. Instead of following a star we sit in our car and follow the brake lights of the car in front of us . . . which leads us to a shopping mall where, with a little luck, the last empty parking space has not just been taken. So we can spend money we can’t afford on presents that quite likely will be exchanged or returned after the hullabaloo is over.

There has to be an in-between, something that satisfies the needs of our modern times yet still retains some of what this holiday was supposed to mean. I, for one, would like some sanity to return in time for this year’s holiday! Whether we believe the 3 kings actually ever set out on their trip East to follow a star or think of it as a fabrication, I for one want some of the fairy tale feeling back.