Wise Travelers: The Edges of the Story
Rev. Kris Light
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the territory of Judea during the rule of King Herod, magi came from the east to Jerusalem.
Matthew 2:1 CEB
"Man down! Man down," my son exclaims entering the living room.
"Wiseman again," I ask?
"Of course, Mom. Those guys are too close to the edge."
He refers to the nativity scene on the fireplace mantle. Our family favorite among the collection of crèches we bring out each Advent is a modern Scandinavian rendition of the Nativity. Like Flat Stanleys jigsawed from smoothly planed pine, each character is lightly engraved, then stained in shades of tan, blue and creamy tangerine. The beauty of their simple lines compels me to give them center stage each year, fully aware that the half inch edge on which they stand guarantees they will topple.
Mary and Joseph, the manger with Jesus' arms outstretched, even the shepherds holding lambs are cut more squat; bent and bowed they gather in close to the miracle. The wisemen, though, stand tall and erect, arms outstretched with gold and gifties. They are still searching, still traveling toward the mystery, seemingly following the packages which protrude from their center of gravity. It is a precarious place to be, carrying all that stuff in this territory on the edges of the story. They fall. A lot.
I could keep them in the box, of course, or crowd them into the scene of Christmas morning. But that is not who they are. That is not who we are. I am glad to be reminded that the wisest travelers seeking the Christ sometimes fall. No. They fall a lot.
- - -
Oh Lord of all,
When we fall: Help us learn, help us up, help us grow, and help us keep moving. Amen.
Kris is pastor of UniPlace Christian Church on the corner of the University of Illinois campus in Urbana - Champaign. Married to Ed Taylor she enjoys their combined total of 6 young adult children and 4 precious grandchildren. Previously serving Disciples congregations in Nebraska, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Kansas and Georgia, she is now putting down deep roots in Champaign and Ford counties in Illinois. Gardening, home restoration projects, sewing, writing and crafting are her idea of a really good time.
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