The Journey of the Kings

January 7, 2018

This is a time when we enter the mystery of Christmas through a familiar story which allows the imagination to be filled with wonder.  From the silhouettes of camels and the radiance of the star, this scene is easy to visualize. The multitude of depictions of this picture are as numerous as there are artists.  It is a story of kings, magi, astrologers, all who are highly educated, finding Jesus by following a star.  It is a story of the privileged still seeking and learning. It is a story of kings leaving their kingdoms and their way of life in order to search.  Many myths surround this story and songs enhance its importance.

Even more is made of the gifts they brought, the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  Commercial advertising has used this doorway over the years to get us in the spirit of giving.  Yet the journey of the gifts, like the journey of the kings, is significant to reflect upon.  The kings had to leave from somewhere.  They had to have a starting point and from that point they were searching for something more.  They saw the star at its rising.  They had to be looking upward into the night sky to see it, to notice it.  We may never know their exact starting point, but we know there was nothing more important than starting. This new journey was more important than everything else.  Nothing held them back.

When I think about that journey long ago, and I think about the time in which we live, I see a significant change.  We sometimes barely leave the computer screen during a typical day.  We even do our shopping on the internet.  Banking; it is all electronic.  Facebook and Face Time allow us to connect around the world from the comfort of home.  Our ability to leave when everything we are searching for can be pulled up in a matter of minutes on the internet is the exact doorway of this significant feast.

It is not about how far the kings travel.  It is not about what led them, it is about how far the King traveled to be with us.  Jesus the King traveled from heaven, lived within the womb for nine months and entered the world fully human and fully divine.  This journey has a starting point we all know.  It is found in the prologue of the Gospel of John. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” I love that this King who started His journey in heaven, is the second member of the Trinity.  This Jesus traveled from heaven to earth.  That is the journey. We reflect on our journey only to know where we have come from and to where He longs to lead us.  His gifts of redemption, forgiveness and new life are to be announced to the world.  These gifts, not found on the internet, not delivered by Amazon, Fed Ex, UPS or the US Postal Service can only journey to our hearts.  Today we are to reflect on a feast, so popularized yet understated.  To give the gift of redemption this King of Kings and Lord of Lords was on a cross.  For this gift of forgiveness to be experienced, we need to forgive themselves with our whole being.  For the gift of new life to be embraced, the old way of life must die, be surrendered and be let go.  These are powerful gifts that have divine possibilities, divine origin and a significance beyond this world.

It is the journey of this King that matters and changes the world.  It is the gifts of this King that offer us hope in the midst of pain and purpose in the midst of death.  It is the life of this King we celebrate today.

Reverend John J. Ouper