|The three gifts the wise men gave long ago|
“Through mountains and valleys it led them each night, a star of most radiant light. The wise men rejoiced as they journeyed afar, to behold such a beautiful star!”
sung by Kathy Mattea
These are the words to a beautiful song called “When They Saw the Star”. This song talks about the wise men that had visited baby Jesus and presented him with gifts. But this is where many people get the Nativity Story wrong: if you were to go out and ask a bunch of people walking down the street right now and asked what they know about the wise men in the Bible, most, if not all of them would say that they visited Jesus in Bethlehem as He laid in the manger. Well, go get your Bible and look in the book of Matthew in the second chapter. That’s where it talks about the wise men. Does it say they visited Jesus in the manger? Read it for yourself in verse 11: “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him . . .” Does that say anything about a manger? Noooooo! It clearly says that they visited Jesus when he was living in a house with His mother (and His dad too). Yet, we see the wise men visiting Jesus in the manger in television shows, movies, plays, nativity sets and so forth. However, the wise men really did follow a star to find the Child. They followed this star until they finally reached the place where Jesus was. Then they presented Him with three gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh. We don’t really know how many wise men there were, but since three gifts were given, it is assumed by many that there were three. However, after the gifts are given to Jesus, they mysteriously disappear. As far as we know, they don’t appear in scripture anywhere. They kind of just floated off into the unknown . . . right? That’s what everyone thought until one day, that famed explorer and archaeologist, Indiana James, took a little trip to Vermont to visit his grandparents. While visiting, he went in a little antique shop and saw something in the corner of his eye sitting in a box in the very back of the store (the store was really junky, the antique dealer just bought antiques and piled them into piles or onto shelves in the store, so for the most part she really didn’t know what she had to sell). He took a look at three little “jars” in the box and realized there was something very peculiar about them . . . they looked strangely familiar. “I don’t know how on earth these would have looked familiar to me,” says Indiana James, “considering I really had never seen them before. Maybe it was just pure providence. Yeah, it probably was.” After taking a few minutes looking at the beautiful objects, he opened one of them up to reveal some strong smelling spices. He recognized it as frankincense. He opened another container and realized it was a bright, shiny object called gold. And the final container was filled with myrrh. He instantly knew the kind of find he had made and quickly bought the objects he found. He tried asking the antique store owner how on earth these three objects got from the Middle East to Vermont, she shrugged. So it was up to Indiana James to find the origins of these little “jars” to see if they were in fact the same ones given to Jesus. How would he find out? Well, he first found out where the antique store owner bought the pieces from. She said she had bought them from an old lady who lived up by Champlain Lake. This is what Indiana did with all of the people who had once owned these valuable artifacts. After doing his research (and eventually flying all the way to the Holy Lands), he believes he knows how on earth these pieces made it here to the U.S.: the lady at the antique shop bought the “jars” from an old lady. The old lady got it from a friend of hers who had had it in her family for at least three generations. The “three-generation” family kept the artifacts because a man in their family named Pilot Gorge Kingston, had it in his possessions during his piloting during World War II. How did he receive the treasures? Well, he bought it from a merchant in the Middle East who found the treasures in an old shed. The shed used to belong to a “police” who had confiscated the treasures from thieves who stole it from an emperor who had received the “jars” from a poor man. This is where the story is abrupt. “I looked in all the resources I could find,” says Indiana James, “but nowhere could I find how the treasures got from Jesus’ family to the poor man. All I know is that this poor man lived in the area Jesus grew up in. This mystery will have to wait for future generations to solve it . . . if I don’t discover it before I am dead and gone, that is!” So as the archaeologist says, this mystery will have to wait to be solved. But regardless of how it got from Jesus’ family to the antique dealer, we mustn’t forget that this is not the reason for Christmas in the first place. The real reason for the season is not the wise men’s gifts, instead, it commemorates the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who left His throne in heaven and humbled Himself. He came to earth for one main reason – to die for our sins. He took the punishment for our sins so that we don’t have to. Thanks to Jesus, when we die, we can go to heaven to live with God. Thanks to Jesus, all we have to do to get admittance in heaven is admit that we have sinned and need Jesus’s salvation, next we have to believe that Jesus is 100% God (yet he’s also 100% man), and last but certainly not least, we must confess our faith in Jesus and chose to live for Him. And that’s what Christmas is all about! Have a merry, merry Christmas from all of us here at Smiley’s News!
PS: The wise men’s treasures are now safe and sound in the Riverville Museum of Natural History, thank goodness for that!
Written by: Mr. Smiley
Photographed by: Daniel P. Smithwater
Edited by: Christian Ryan
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