On Kings’ Day

Today is “Reyes”, a holiday here in Spain, and around the world. In the past children received their presents today. However, today many more parents are moving to Christmas to give gifts to their children from Santa Claus. What follows is a short creative fiction piece written from the perspective of one of the wise men.

For hundreds of years we had been waiting. I was part of a small number whose life and livelihood depended on our ability to see the signs and read the times. We were the link between the heavens and the earth. We were the keepers of the ladder which every king had attempted to climb. We were the priests of the future because we could understand the past and interpret the present. We were wisdom.

The day we had seen it, the day we had realized what the heavens were declaring, was a day I will never forget. Aligning, shining, guiding, proclaiming. The lights above were speaking to us. Calling, leading, pulling us toward something. Toward someone. It was almost as though the sky was singing.

What were we to do? We who had been foretelling, reading, studying, directing. Were we now to drop all and follow? Should we, the leaders, diviners, interpreters, the wisdom-givers step out and walk behind?

I cannot explain it, but follow is both what we were forced to do, and what we desperately wanted to do. We had no will, nor any desire, to do otherwise. We were being drawn in to what we had been created for.

We had packed and prepared and set out across the sands. But the trip itself was of no consequence. Asking about the desert and the dangers, the plodding and the monotony would be like asking the bridegroom about the weeks leading up to his wedding. Of what significance were all the plans, and trials, and unknowns? They were but a moment, a haze, a brief vapor dancing before my eyes. It was the singing of the heavens which pulled us, and it was the moment of fulfillment which became the event around which my life’s work, my entire existence, would be measured and remembered. I would read my life story as being before, or after the Christ child.

And then we had arrived in Israel and met the king. Oh, you misunderstand. I am not speaking of Herod! No, not that little rat, hiding and conniving, threatening and abusing. He was no king. He was a puppet afraid of the strings. I am talking about the child King. The King of all kings.

The helplessness which I felt in his presence was unlike any other moment of vulnerability I had experienced. I am familiar with kings, despots, and tyrants. I have lived my life in the presence of men who sought supreme control. These men always desire to read, and wield, the stars and planets for their own means. But what I saw in this moment was different. Here was power. Here was control. Here was fear.

But the fear I felt was the realization that I was not worthy. Here was such goodness, pure and unteathered completeness, that all of me which missed the mark was highlighted in his splendor. All the darkness of my heart and soul was on full display before his radiance. I felt as though I was unbound, undone, uncovered. The only possible posture in the presence of unleashed goodness is reverence and awe. So I worshiped.

When I saw him I was changed. I was unmade and made anew. I lost myself and found who I was meant to be. I was fearful yet safe.

I fell to my knees, and then I laughed. A real laugh. A full laugh. A laugh like that of a child who has nothing to fear. Nothing to fear…

Matthew 2:1–12 (ESV): Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

6  “ ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;

for from you shall come a ruler

who will shepherd my people Israel.’ ”

7 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” 9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.