Great Morning Beloved!
The First Sunday of Advent
“Hope” & The Wise Men
Today we begin our journey toward Christmas. Advent means preparation. And so, we prepare again, as we do each year, for the Birth of the Christ Consciousness within each of us.
We all know that the Christ Consciousness is always within us. This Season of re-birth is a gentle reminder of that.
If we look at the Bible as our souls’ journey, then the Hebrew scriptures foretold of this birth, this rise in consciousness.
Isaiah 9:6 6: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
And so we light the first candle in our Advent Wreath to symbolize Hope.
What is it that you are hoping for this Christmas Season?…….
Reviewing the birth story from the Gospel of Matthew: After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
On coming to the place, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
According to legend, the Wise Men traveled far across the desert to follow a new star. They believed the star would lead them to meet a great leader whom they would then shower with gifts.
Although the Magi are commonly referred to as “kings,” there is nothing in the account from the Gospel of Matthew that implies that they were rulers of any kind. The identification of the Magi as kings is most likely linked to Old Testament prophecies that describe the Messiah being worshipped by kings in Isaiah and the Psalms, which tell us “Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations serve him.”
The Wise Men probably came from an area which is now in either Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia or the Yemen. Although they are often called the ‘Three Kings’, the Bible does not say how many there were. It was assumed that there were three by writers of the time because of the three gifts.
The gifts reflected the aspects of Christ’s nature: gold to a king, myrrh to one who will die, and incense, as homage to a God
They were certainly men of great learning. The word Magi comes from the greek word ‘magos’ (where our word ‘magic’ comes from). Magos itself comes from the old persian word that was the title given to priests in a sect of the ancient persian religions.
Today we’d call them astrologers. Back then astronomy and astrology were part of the same overall studies (and ‘science’) and went hand in hand with each other. The magi would have followed the patterns of the stars religiously. They would have also probably been very rich and held high esteem in their own society and by people who weren’t from their country or religion.
Interesting that we often look down on astrology when it was so highly esteemed in Biblical times.
These men appear to have researched the Old Testament and believed its prophecies about the Messiah.
Seeing this unusual new star in the sky, they knew that it told of the birth of a special king. No one really knows what the new star in the sky was, and there are many theories including comets, supernovas, or even a conjunction of planets.
Through the legends told about them, they have been given names. This is how they are often described:
Gaspar (or Caspar), who has brown hair and a brown beard (or no beard!) and wears a green cloak and a gold crown with green jewels on it. He is the King of Sheba. Gaspar represents the Frankincense brought to Jesus.
Melchior, who has long white hair and a white beard and wears a gold cloak. He is the King of Arabia. Melchior represents the Gold brought to Jesus.
Balthazar, who has black skin and a black beard (or no beard!) and wears a purple cloak. He is the King of Tarse and Egypt. Balthazar represents the gift of Myrrh that was brought to Jesus.
Interesting how legends grow….
Matthew is the only one of the four gospels to mention the Magi and Luke the only other gospel that mentions the birth story. In Luke we get the shepherds.
These magi did not arrive until possibly almost 2 years after the birth of Jesus, certainly sometime after his presentation in the Temple.
That’s a long journey to follow a star in search of a child. And since there is no mention of camels or any mode of transportation in the biblical record, they were probably on foot!
So, that’s the back story for this journey we are taking. Somewhere along the way, our culture has combined the two gospel stories and tweaked them to have everyone at the stable together and added camels for special effects.
Let’s look at this metaphysically….
The Metaphysical meaning of Wise-men….The stored-up resources of the soul, which rise to the surface when its depths are stirred by a great spiritual revelation. They are the inner realms of consciousness that, like books of life, have kept the records of past lives and held them in reserve for the great day when the soul would receive the supreme ego, Jesus.
The “Wise-men” represent the wisdom that is carried within the soul from previous incarnations. The east represents the within, man’s inner consciousness.
Although Charles did believe in reincarnation, we do not find too many references to it in his writings. So here we have a metaphysical meaning for the Wise Men. I find it interesting.
The Wise Men brought gifts to the Christ Child. Gold represents the riches of Spirit; frankincense, the beauty of Spirit; myrrh, the eternity of Spirit.
The star that the “Wise-men” saw in the east represents intuition; the “Wise-men” were guided by intuition. Stars represent subjective and not fully understood guiding lights.
Unity’s James Dillet Freeman puts it this way….
At Christmas it is easier to see the wonder of things. Is it the wonder that wells up in all things Christmas, or is it in us?
Christmas turns us into children. Children have a wonderful sense of wonder.
So, sit still for a moment, shut your eyes, and think back to the Christmas of your childhood. Or better yet, feel for the wonder in your heart.
Can you remember what waiting for Christmas was like? It is hard to find words for that feeling.
Hope? Desire? Excitement? Dreams?
What was it like?…
But Christmas is not getting things, because Christmas is not things at all. Christmas is a wonder. And it is for wonder.
Christmas is believing.
Christmas is hoping.
Christmas is dreaming.
It is a holiday holy to humanity’s dreams and hopes.
That is why Christmas is, first of all, the Christmas story. Christmas is the birth of Christ. The birth of Christ is the birth of humanity’s best dream and highest hope. It is the birth of God in humanity.
Take time this Christmas to read the story again.
Because there was no room at the inn, God was born in a stable. There Mary the Mother bent over the manger, watching her Baby asleep in the hay. The beasts in the stalls—were they wiser than us?—knelt down, says the legend, and worshiped Jesus.
Shepherds came from the fields. They left their flocks and lambs. Wise Men came from lands far away. They followed the brightest star that has ever shone in earth’s night sky.
Angels sang in the skies by the stable. They sang of peace to an earth without peace. They sang of goodwill to all people.
The Christmas story holds hope for us all.
When the shepherds came looking for God, they brought only their wonder, for this was all they had.
When the Wise Men came looking for God, they brought their gifts.
If you are a shepherd, God asks of you only your wonder.
If you are a wise man, God asks of you only your gift.
God is revealed alike to shepherds and to Wise Men, to all who come looking for the Spirit, that Divine Energy that is in us all.
The Christmas wonder lies waiting for us all to find it.
So, if you have a wise man’s mind or if you have a shepherd’s heart, come take a new look at Christmas, and be filled with the wonder of God.
We metaphysically understand the stories of Jesus’ birth to be descriptive of the birth of Christ Consciousness within each of us. The Christ Awareness impacts every aspect of our mortal lives—from the most basic (the lowly shepherds) to the most exalted, represented by the wealthy, highly educated wise men who come seeking the Christ.
It also includes all of the natural world, represented by the lowly manger and attendant animals. There is no aspect of this human experience that will not be changed and uplifted as we surrender to the elevated consciousness of the Christ within.
Come and be open to the Christmas experience. Open your hearts to the Christ Consciousness within each and every one of us…we just have to be willing….