Finney is getting to be quite the Christmastime storyteller! Must be because it is his favorite time of year!
All…well, maybe most of, his mischief is put aside during Christmastime because Finney has on his mind that Santa Claus will know if he gets too carried away with his fun!
But Little Christmas has a wonderful story, too! Most of us have seen many pictures of the “Three Wise Men” or the “Three Kings,” but what do we really know about them…
CNN had a nice little report about the “Three Kings” two years ago. The article “Three Kings Balthazar, Gaspar, Melchior” opened with a fun picture of the “Catholic celebration of the Three Kings in Kaunas, Liturania,” on January 6, 2013. This article tells us that Bede the Venerable, an 8th century saint, “described the kings this way: The first was called Melchior; he was an old man, with white hair and long beard; he offered gold to the Lord as to his king. ”
“The second , Gaspar by name, young beardless, of ruddy hue, offered to Jesus his gift of incense, the homage due to Divinity.”
The third, of black complexion, wit heavy beard, was called Balthasar; the myrrh he held in his hands prefigured the death of the Son of man.”
As you can see, not every image of the “wise men” stays true to these descriptions, but it is fun to have some kind of mental image.
In regard to their appearance, the article also says they are often depicted as “representing the three races.” The name Casper is also offered as an alternative for the name Gaspar.
The article also mentions that “the Bible says they came from the East, but exactly where is not known. Arabia, Babylon, and Persia are popular choices. According to one tradition, Balthasar was king of Arabia, Gaspar was king of India, and Melchior was king of Persia.”
Finally, this grand article tells us that the Bible (Matthew:2) doesn’t call them kings or say their names. They are called “simply Magi, or Wise Men.” The article explains that the “Magi were a Median priestly caste who rose to power in ancient Persia (today’s Iran). Their religion, Zoroastrianism, was founded around the 6th century B.C. by a Median man named Zoroaster. The Magi were held in awe as highly educated scientists and scholars who could interpret dreams and even control demons.”
Another fun source, http://www.archive.archeology.org, has an article “The Three Kings and the Star” by Mark Rose,tells us that “in Cologne, Germany, there is a gilded shrine that, if you choose to believe, has held the remains o the wise men since the middle ages.” This article refers to the writings of a fourteenth-century cleric, John of Heldesheim, called the Historia Trium Regum (History of the Three Kings) and tells a little more about “the Star!”
“When the day of the nativity was passed the Star ascended up into the firmament, and it had right many long streaks and beams, more burning and brighter than a brad of fire, and as an eagle flying and beating the air with his wings, right so the streaks and beams of the Star stirred about.” More info about the wise men is given which gives the homes as “India, Chaldea, and Persia,” and that they “only meet on the outskirts of Jerusalem having traveled from their own lands “in great haste” and without stopping.” After they offer their gifts and leave Bethlehem, they “continue together” until the reach the border of India, “before departing to their own countries.” Apparently, there is an indication they decided they wanted to be buried together…also the indication that their remains were moved a few times…ultimately to Cologne.
So interesting these possibilities…the great Star must have been one incredible sight…never mind being bathed in its Light and guided and directed by it…
As it led them to the King of Kings!
Just a little reality check…the various places given as possibilities of where each of the wise men came from and their distances from Bethlehem were:
Arabia – (Saudi Arabia) – in the area of 600 miles away
India – in the area of 2500 miles away
Chaldea & Babylon (Iraq) – in the area of 600 miles away
Persia (Iran) – in the area of 970 miles away
Though we don’t know for sure what the details of their journeys were…and no matter how exact these distances actually are to the true journeys of the wise men, they are put into a thought provoking perspective when we remember that Joseph and pregnant Mary took almost a week to go from Nazareth to Bethlehem which was 80 miles…(catholicireland.net)
No matter how you cut it…wow…I mean it’s not like you can catch a cab! Those camels…good for them!
Thus is the story of the great Star and the three wise men. In regards to the Star…we tend to focus on what the “star” was and when it happened, etc. I think the best way to say what its value is…is that it leads us to Jesus.
God bless you and thank you for stopping by to visit Finney and me!
2 thoughts on “83. Nannie’s Fun Facts (17)”
I love reading about the Magi! Gaspar, Caspar, Casper, and Jasper are all variants of the same name, and I’ve seen all of them used for the Wise Man by different sources. So cool!
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Yes! And it was fun to understand that they only “met” when they ran into each other around Jerusalem because they were all looking for the same thing! I had always just thought they three had decided to follow the star and hopped on their old camels all together to set out to find what they suspected was a great royal birth! And then there’s the story that from that time they wanted to be buried together…Can you even imagine how mystical an experience they had?
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