One night as I was stuck in Holiday gridlock, I looked up and saw a star. It was either that or the International Space Station, I’m not sure. It was pretty bright, though, compared to the red and green traffic lights I couldn’t seem to get through.
The alleged star made me think about the First Christmas. I don’t know why. Maybe because I was a little envious that there was no such thing as camel gridlock when the Three Wise Men saw that bright star two thousand years ago. If there was, they may not have gotten to the stable before Jesus made his bar mitzvah.
Those Three Wise Men were supposedly kings and they brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. But when I was a youngster, I thought their names might have been Curly, Larry, and Moe. Even then, as young as I was, I knew that no one in their right mind would bring a hunk of metal, perfume and ointment to a Baby. They may have been Kings, but they didn’t seem to be very wise.
To be fair, Baby Jesus may have had some use for the ointment if His mother, Mary, had used it to prevent rashes in His… swaddling clothes, I guess. But what would He do with gold and frankincense? They were kings and presumably they knew that they were visiting a newborn King — the Greatest King who would ever live — so apparently they thought that Jesus should be rich, smell good, and have no chapped body parts.
If they were instead Three Wise Women, they would have thought to bring things like a rattle, more swaddling clothes, food, and oh…How about a cradle that wasn’t presently being used as a dinner plate for livestock? It wasn’t bad enough that this poor Child, who would one day save all of humankind, had to suffer the cold and stench of a barn on His first day of life, but He also had to share His bed with the slobbery end of a hungry cow.
I think, also, that these Three Kings could have used their power and influence to secure a room at the inn for the Holy Family. Imagine if three… count’em, three…kings showed up at your motel and requested a room. As the innkeeper, would you tell them you had no room? I don’t think so. You’d stutter an elated “Hello!” and roll out the red carpet! In order to keep the patronage of such rich and well-connected people, you’d say, “Just one moment while I check to be sure our three best VIP rooms are ready.” Then you’d run down the hall yelling “Fire!” until the place was cleared.
Fortunately, Baby Jesus was a forgiving sort as well as being very generous, so no doubt the events of the First Christmas happened just exactly the way they were supposed to. The Holy Family may have used the frankincense to make the barn smell better and the gold to buy a top-of-the-line donkey with all the options so they could ride home in comfort. Or perhaps they were smart investors who put it into a college fund for Jesus or He used it to finance His ministry.
As I rolled slowly through another traffic light, I felt the urge to cuss at the driver who pulled in front of me and left me stranded in the middle of the intersection. Cars beeped, drivers howled, the lights turned again.
If I were a Wise Woman, I most likely wouldn’t have been out shopping tonight. But unfortunately, my friends and family probably wouldn’t be quite as forgiving if I gave them a rock, air freshener, and Vaseline for Christmas.