Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Blog Post #15: The Three Kings: Were they there or not?

The Three Kings of the Christmas story are fascinating to me. I have all kinds of questions about 'em! Who were they? Where did they come from? How did they know what the star meant??? Inquiring minds want to know!!

I don't remember the exact year I discovered the three wisemen probably didn't visit Jesus on the night he was born, but I do remember being pretty surprised about it. I mean, doesn't every Nativity scene have three king figurines bearing gifts to the Baby Jesus? I know all of mine do!

But the reality is Jesus was most likely a toddler of about two years before the magi, as they're called in Luke 2:1-12, ever arrived.

Why do we think that? Luke 2:7 says King Herod found out from the magi the exact time the star appeared. Later, after Herod realizes the magi outwitted him by sneaking home without telling him about the baby, he gives an order that all the baby boy's in Bethlehem two years of age or younger are to be killed. If the magi had arrived right after Jesus was born, King Herod probably wouldn't have started with two year olds and worked down.

Luke 2:11 says the magi followed the star that led them to a house where the child was with his mother. Not a stable or even an inn, but a house. The Bible doesn't tell us this, but some scholars speculate that Joseph may have rented a house in Bethlehem for reasons unknown and stayed for an extended period. That is where the kings found the Savior of the world.

Some people don't display the three figurines of the wisemen at Christmas in their creches. I do. Those three dudes may not have been there on Christmas Night to meet the newborn King of Kings, but they did eventually arrive. They did worship him and they did offer gifts to him. (Matthew 2:9-12)

They need their place in the story.

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