And they left for their own country by another road.
A friend of mine made a wrong turn on her way to the beach one morning. Feeling lost and in a hurry, she pulled up alongside a roadside vegetable stand in search of directions. And there among the sweet corn and local tomatoes, she met a woman nursing an early morning cup of coffee.
“What’s the quickest way to Perdido?” my friend asked her. And the woman smiled and said, “Oh, it don’t matter, honey. All the farms are square and the world is round. You’ll find your way.”
This week I’ve been wondering what sort of roadside wisdom assisted the Wise Men finding their way to Bethlehem. St. Matthew leaves a lot to the imagination in their story. Which may explain why Christian Tradition has had so much fun coloring outside the lines of what Matthew gives us.
If you’ll notice, the Wise Men do not have names in our gospel today. And yet we know who they are: they are Caspar, Balthazaar, and Melchior. They are three kings – a detail again not mentioned at all in the gospel – and they arrive from the east, though by way of tradition, we’re to know they’re from Asia, Africa, and Europe. In other words, wherever Jesus is, in short order here comes everybody. Read more