Who were these guys that they would travel so far and for what?
We have all sung We Three Kings of Orient Are, singing about the their journey. These men were probably astrologists, or ‘magi’ – the word used in that time for people who could read the skies.
In Matthew, the Magi come to a house in Bethlehem, rather than the stable of the birth story. The three gifts were gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Legend has it that the three men were:
- Gaspar (or Caspar), who has brown hair and a brown beard (or no beard!) and wears a green cloak and a gold crown with green jewels on it. He is the King of Sheba. Gaspar represents the Frankincense brought to Jesus, signifying that people would worship this child.
Melchior, who has long white hair and a white beard and wears a gold cloak. He is the King of Arabia. Melchior represents the Gold brought to Jesus, meaning He would be the King Of Kings.
Balthazar, who has black skin and a black beard (or no beard!) and wears a purple cloak. He is the King of Tarse and Egypt. Balthazar represents the gift of Myrrh ; it is interesting that one of the first gifts to the Baby Jesus would be myrrh, the same spice that would be used by Mary Magdalene and other women to anoint his body after the crucifixion.
They made this long and arduous pilgrimage to bring gifts a small child born, who they recognized as the Messiah. This was the beginning of that small child’s life that would eventually end in death and resurrection and redemption of all people.
And just as the wise men brought gifts to the Christ Child, so have those who support In The Garden and its community, brought gifts for each of you. Gifts of our love and acknowledgement that we are children of God and brothers and sisters of Jesus.
When you are through with your meal, please dump your plates in the trash cans to my right, then make your way to the Step Room. There you will be given a gift sack of lots of things that will make your holiday a little brighter. Then as you leave, you will receive your dessert and you can select a blanket donated by the Toll Gate Middle School in Pickerington.
Our prayer is that each of you have a Merry Christmas and blessed Christmastide.
Delivered at In The Garden, Trinity Episcopal Church On Capitol Square, Columbus, OH, 21 December 2014