Summary: At our Christmas Eve service each year I tell a silly story which deals with an aspect of the Christmas story. This one has to do with the wisemen.
There are lots of wisemen legends that have been perpetuated over the years. For example, it doesn’t say anywhere in the Bible that three kings visited Jesus bearing gifts. It’s just not there!
First of all, they were “magi” or “wisemen” – perhaps astrology scholars – not kings – at least in the technical sense. And nowhere in the Bible does it say that there were three of them. That idea developed because they brought gifts of three kinds -- gold, frankincense, and myrrh. I mean, there could have been two wisemen or a thousand! The Bible just doesn’t say.
Nor does the Bible say exactly when they showed up in Bethlehem with these gifts. The Holy Family was obviously out of the barn by then because Matthew 2:11 says that “On coming to the HOUSE, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.”
Although, nowhere in any of the gospels is a barn mentioned either – only a manger – and in first century Judah it was not uncommon to allow the animals into the house at night. So there were often mangers inside houses or certain rooms in the houses.
What seems clear is that there were not any guestrooms available so Joseph and Mary ended up some place near a feeding trough for animals and that’s where the newborn Jesus ended up – in a manger.
Anyway, that is a bit of a bunny trail because I really want to talk about the magi or wisemen tonight – and even more specifically the wife of one of the wisemen.
Now of course, that’s going to raise all kinds of red flags for some of you – people scrambling through their Bibles right now to find mention of a wise wife in the Christmas story.
Besides no one has ever seen a Christmas card with a wiseman traveling through the moonlight following yonder star – with a wife wrapping her arms around a wiseman’s waist – motorcycle mamma style.
I for one have never seen such a card and don’t really expect to – although – maybe some enlightened person – an artist – someone with true imagination will realize that it was probably so.
Think about it.
No, a wise wife is not mentioned in the Bible – at least not directly. But you know that there had to be at least one there. How else would it have been that the magi would have stopped in Jerusalem to ask for directions? Would the men have done that on their own? Maybe – just maybe one lone man might do such a thing – not likely but possibly. But if you get two or three or more guys together – it’s even less likely that they’ll stop for directions. No one wants to appear like he doesn’t know where he’s going – especially in front of other guys.
And how else would these supposedly wisemen have known what to bring as baby gifts? Men don’t go to baby showers.
We men know absolutely nothing about what kind of baby gifts are appropriate in any given situation. For all we know, women still give each other gold, frankincense, and myrrh at baby showers – although I’m certain it’s all more processed and sold in the infants department at Mervyns – and then it’s all rolled up in cutesy pink or blue wrapping paper with frilly bows – even if it’s for a boy.