Friday, December 25, 2015

A Few Wise Men, some Shepherds, and a Star in the East

Part of the Christmas Story that got left out of the written version was how the "three kings" knew to go to Bethlehem for the big event. They didn't know: it was pure happenstance. Bethlehem was just in the way of the Wise Men's dedicated mission. 

 The Wise Men didn't just happen to be wandering around in the desert. I have it on dubious hearsay from Fox News that the trio wandering around in the desert were "sent by their respective kings". Kings don’t go wandering around in the desert. They stay home and do the Kinging.

The object of the Wise Men's wanderings was a star in the East. Carl Sagan said it was an exploded Super Nova that became light in our eyeballs light years after the explosive event happened. Monarchs sent out Wise Men to determine where that light was coming from and tell 'em to turn it off. That’s what Kinging is about.

You see, the Wise Men weren't kings at all. They were a well equipped, well financed court appointed academics on a scientific expedition, the first International Geophysical Scientific Year.

The three Wise Men; Balthasar, Melchoir, and Gaspar didn’t know each other until they met at an Oasis in Egypt. After some deliberation they decided to join forces. There was safety in numbers in those days.

It has been documented in Amal, and the Night Visitors that Balthasar, Melchoir, and Gaspar rested on evening at a peasant cottage. They met Amal, a small cripple boy, who knew as much about the star as the Wise Men, which was basically nothing. Amal convinced Gaspar to take him as an interpreter. Amal took along his little drum, and secured his place in history.

This trio of Wise Men and their growing entourage came upon some shepherds a couple hours travel from supper at Amal's place. It's easier to follow a star after dark, although this one could probably be tracked in daylight.The shepherd were in a state.They had been awaken by "apparitions" singing loudly and imploring them to go to Bethlehem and pay their taxes. This story was loosely translated by Amal. Who know what was actually said.

Personally, I feel all that apparition business might have been the Emperor's Roman Mounted Camel Patrol, dressed in white robes, sitting 10 feet above the ground on camels admonishing the shepherds to go pay there taxes.

After a skin of wine supplied by the Wise Men, the shepherds calmed down and embellished the story. Melchoir concluded the apparitions were “angels” and the  music on high was really the braying of asses, bleating of sheep, howling of wolves, and bellowing of Camels. 

Melchoir later confided to his compatriots he had made up the word “angels”.It seemed to calm the "sore afraid" shepherds. The word rolled off the tongue, explained the apparition phenomena and calmed fears. After all, the whole country side was eat up with curiosity as to what was going on with that infernal light in the East..

There were other forces at work. The Roman Emperor Augustus was hurting financially. He needed a bail out. His Wise Financial Planners told him the best way to raise money was to tax his subject some more. The spin doctors convinced Augustus that having people go to place of birth to pay taxes would be a smart move. It could be called a taxing holiday. A reason to visit family and friends in the old hometown. This would soften the blow of paying more taxes. Not a bad idea, IRS.

The little town of Bethlehem began to look Woodstock. There was a tent city growing on the outskirts of town. In the narrow streets, there were donkeys braying, dogs barking, kids crying, cattle mooing and pick pockets doing brisk business. Just a holiday circus, with all the trimmings. Folks were there to pay taxes, visit with family, talk about the strange light in the East and get out of town before the Emperor wanted something else.

Arriving in Bethlehem, the shepherds got in line to pay their taxes, Amal was sent to find the Livery and the Wise Men looked for lodgings. There were no rooms at the Inns. Amal came back to report the enterprising stable owner has converted the stalls into makeshift rooms for the overflow crowds. Balthasar slipped the Stable Master a few shekels, and just like today, money talks. The Wise Men got preferential floor space at inflated prices.

The Wise Men and their new shepherd friends went out for food and drink that evening. Upon returning to the Livery, they noticed one of the stalls was taken by a very pregnant woman and her husband. The star was getting brighter and brighter.

It would prove to be a long and eventful night for man and beast alike. 

There are no known reports of a bright star in the East after that night. Star of wonder?
Guess we'll never really know.

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