Friday, December 26, 2008

A Day, or Two, Too Late

For Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) I took a walk to burn off some of those Norwegian full-fat cookies, sat in front of an honest to goodness wood fire and knit (socks, of course). I also thought guiltily about that box of Christmas cards I never sent out this year, it's still sitting here unopened on my desk. With the best of intentions I bought those cards two, maybe three months ago. Plenty of time. And that's what I kept thinking -- there's plenty of time, no hurry.

I thought about sending them anyway with little notes claiming "This card is arriving fashionably late -- be grateful it isn't one of the wise men, that could have taken two more years." Clever, no?

And that's when I started wondering:

My pseudo-research (meaning online surfing about the topic) tells me that "We Three Kings" were quite possibly twelve Zoroastrian priests from the branch of that religion influenced by the teachings of Daniel (as in Daniel and the Lion's Den) during his Babylonian captivity. Hundreds of years later the Jewish prophesies taught to the Babylonian magicians and scholars were fulfilled. As they gazed at the stars to calculate their horoscopes (or divine whatever it is followers of Zoroaster divined from stargazing) the Magi saw the evidence of Christ's birth written in bold type across the night sky.

Babylon, as you may well recall, is not actually two years journey away from Bethlehem. It's not next door, but it's no two years away. What took them so long? Did they have to go do research to confirm the particulars of the event? Did they sit around discussing what was the best tribute to bring? Did they worry that they weren't ready to meet the King yet? Or did they just keep thinking they had plenty of time, like I did with my Christmas cards?

At least the wise men eventually arrived at their destination. At least they made that journey. Some of us are tempted to sit around discussing the evidence of Christ's birth and Resurrection until we know all there is to know, but we never make that journey to meet Our King in this life. Some worry we are not good enough to go to Him, or we haven't got the right gift to give Him, not quite believing that the Baby Savior really does welcome everyone just as they are. Worse yet, some may know the truth of the Gospel and not do anything about it, thinking there's still plenty of time.

Christmas comes and goes with cards unsent. Life comes and goes just as quickly. When you see evidence of Christ written in bold type across your life, will you take that step and make that journey to worship the Christ? In the end, "plenty of time" runs out on us all.

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