"Overcome by innocence, My wisdom becomes foolishness Before the tiny babe Born to give himself away;
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming! With glowing hearts by his cradle we stand; Fall on your knees, Fall on your knees, The conqueror comes in peace,"
Jason Gray, "Easier"
The Wise Men in Matthew's gospel are some of the most mysterious people who show up in the Christmas narrative. We know very little about who they were, where they were from, or even how many came on their journey. But we know they were searching for a king, and kings always lead kingdoms. And so it begs the questions: what sort of king were they looking for, and what sort of kingdom did they find?
The Wise Men actually encounter two kings in their search for just one. A bargain at half the price.
The first king exudes the menace of a man whose power is threatened. He does not give off an air of grace or mercy. He does not give off an air of wisdom or patience or kindness or gentleness.
He does not give off an air of peace.
In fact, he is very much like every other king in every other kingdom. A selfish man in love with his own legend, a man who will do anything to hold onto what is his, even if it means the sacrifice of children.
The second king they encounter is a tiny, innocent child. The rumor is, this child represents a new kind of kingdom, a kingdom not native to this world. A kingdom that aims to conquer it all the same. A kingdom where power is upended, where justice and mercy take the place of greed and retribution.
A kingdom of peace.
The word is, this child is God come to earth.
What kind of king are they looking for? What kind of kingdom do they seek?
The kind of king worth worshipping. The king of kingdom worth following a star across the world to join.
First impressions are everything.