I am one of the Magi, one of the Wise Men who visited the infant Jesus. But beyond that, I seem to have been mislaid by history.
They have made up a name for me. Some of you may have heard of Caspar, Melchior & Balthazar. Invented names. In one land I am Rustaham-Gondofarr Suren-Pahlav, which is exotic, but still a fiction. So who am I?
Am I a king? Maybe, probably not. Were there really three of us at all? No-one knows, it’s just a convention – we brought three gifts, that’s all that’s recorded, & people presume we brought one gift each. But who knows?
Some think I’m an astrologer. A hippy on a camel, doubtless with strange eastern habits, greeting his new-born guru. And I think they mistake Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh as evidence of extravagance, when we meant them as tokens of worship. It’s not my favourite version of me.
In the history books, Gentiles always make me a Gentile. “Look! Non-Jewish people get to see baby Jesus!” Hmm. I understand this desire: if I am someone like you, then someone like you was there when Jesus was born. So everyone wants to make me in their own image. I wonder if this is how God feels sometimes?
Hundreds of years before us, there was a Jewish man who lived in our land, who so pleased our King that he made him chief of the Magi. Some of you may have heard of Daniel. He has a book in the Bible. His writings made some of us look out for certain signs that one day God himself would step into the world to make everything new. And if we should see these signs, we should drop everything and go to worship him.
My friends and I used to debate what Daniel’s words might have meant.
How could God walk the earth? Not since the Garden of Eden has this happened. What would God do – just appear, or actually be born as a baby? I remember saying I’d need some pretty big sign to persuade me this could happen!
And one day, one of my friends simply lifted a single finger and pointed to the sky.
That night we set out. We journeyed west. There was a small scare as we made a stop-over in Jerusalem and suffered a visit from Herod’s secret police. We told him we only wanted to worship the King of the Jews. He seemed about to get very angry, before smiling thinly and agreeing he would like to join us – would we tell him when we had found this King?
And we did find him. When we got there, he was a small child in a small house in a small village, yet in that room all our questions and questing, all our words and debates, all our lives and indeed our very selves were stilled by a deep underlying silence leading into a sort of helplessness before God. We fell to our knees and worshipped Jesus.
The whole world was in that room with us. I swear it. And you may not know my name, history may have mislaid me, but I found myself in that place as I worshipped, as I had never found myself before.
This is who I am.
This is who I am meant to be. A human being worshipping my Creator in the midst of His creation, and you can take everything else I have from me – my riches, my pride, my name.
For in giving my worship, my love, my all here in this place, I have now a treasure beyond my wildest dreams.