Christmas 2012 is wrapping up. It has been an unusual December for me. Usually, this is a slower time of year. The phone stops ringing at work and deadlines are put on hold until January. It is nice. But not this year. Deadlines held fast and the telephone kept ringing.
But it is still Christmas, and we must stop to ponder the child lying in a manger. Who doesn’t love the child? All is calm. All is bright. Tender and mild. Sleeping in heavenly peace. Right?
But consider the Christmas carol, We Three Kings. The magi travel across fields and mountains, following a star, to bring gifts.
O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect Light.
But what of the next verses — verses that are sometimes sung but never contemplated?
Born a king on Bethlehem’s plain,
Gold I bring to crown Him again,
King forever, ceasing never
Over us all to reign.
Frankincense to offer have I.
Incense owns a Deity nigh.
Prayer and praising all men raising,
Worship Him, God on high.
Myrrh is mine: it’s bitter perfume
Breaths a life of gathering gloom.
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding dying,
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.
Gold — a gift for a king. The king of kings.
Frankincense — a gift for a priest. The priest of priests.
Myrhh — a gift for a sacrifice. A saviour for all mankind.
The manger looks a bit different now. Arise, king. Flee, priest. Your time has not yet come, saviour. Off to Egypt before Herod’s soldiers find you, lying in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes. Your day will come. Yes, your day will come.
Glorious now behold Him arise,
King and God and Sacrifice.
Sounds through the earth and skies.