It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home.

Author Unknown

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Ephiphany - The Feast of the Three Kings

The Three Kings
by Henry Wardsworth Longfellow
Three kings came riding from far away,
Melchior and Gaspar and Balthasar,
Three wise men out of the East were they,
and they traveled by night and they slept by day,
For their guide was a beautiful, wonderful star,
The star was so beautiful, large and clear,
That all the other stars of the sky,
became a white mist in the atmosphere,
And by this they knew that the coming was near,
Of the Prince foretold in the prophecy.
Three caskets they bore on their saddle bows,
Three caskets of gold with golden keys,
Their robes were of crimson, silk with rose,
Of bells Pomegranates and frivolos,
Their turbans like blossoming almond trees,
And so the three kings rode into the West,
Through the dusk of night, over hill and dell,
And sometimes they nodded with beard on breast,
And sometimes they talked as they paused to rest,
With the people they met at some wayside well.
"Of the child that is born," said Balthasar,
"Good people I pray you tell us the news,,
For we in the East have seen this star,"
And have ridden fast and have ridden far,
To find and worship the King Of The Jews."
And the people answered, "You ask in vane,
We know of no king but Herod The Great."
They thought the wise men were men insane,
As they spurred their horses across the plane,
Like riders in haste who can not wait.
And when they came to Jerusalem,
Herod The Great who had heard this thing,
Sent for the wise men and questioned them,
And said, "Go down unto Bethlehem,
and bring me tidings of this new king."
So they rode away and the star stood still,
The only one in the gray of morn,
Yes it stopped, it stood still,
Of its own free will,
Right over Bethlehem on the hill.
The City Of David where Christ was born.
And the three kings rode through the gate and the guard,
Through the silent street till their horses turned,
And nayed as they entered the great in-yard,
But the windows were closed and the doors were barred,
And only a light in a stable burned.
And cradled there in the scented hay,
In the air made sweet by breath of kine,
The little child in the manger lay,
The child that would be King one day,
Of a kingdom not human but divine.
His mother, Mary of Nazareth,
Sat watching beside his place of rest,
Watching the even flow of his breath,
For the joy of life and the terror of death,
Were mingled together in her breast.
They laid their offerings at his feet,
The gold was their tribute to a king,
The frankincense with its odor sweet,
Was for the priest, the Paracleet,
The myrrh for the body's burring.
And the mother wondered and bowed her head,
And sat as still as a statue of stone,
Her heart was troubled yet comforted,
Remembering what the angel had said,
Of an endless rain and of David's throne.
Then the kings rode out of the city gate,
With a clatter of hoofs and a proud array,
And they went not back to Herod The Great
For they knew his malice and feared his hate,
And returned to their homes by another way

The Golden Carol Of The Three Kings
Melchior, Balthazar And Gaspar
We saw the light shine out afar,
On Christmas in the morning,
And straight we knew Christ's Star it was,
Bright beaming in the morning,
Then did we fall on bended knee,
on Christmas in the morning,
And praised the Lord, who'd let us see
His glory at its dawning.
Oh! Every thought be of His name,
On Christmas in the morning,
Who bore for us the grief and shame,
Affliction's sharpest scorning.
And may we die, when death shall come,
On Christmas in the morning,
And see in Heav'n, our glorious home,
The Star of Christmas morning.
Old English Carol
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 in the East and have come to worship him.” — Matthew 2:1

We are familiar with the song that begins, "On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me a partridge in a pear tree." But did you ever wonder why they sang about 12 days of Christmas, when we only celebrate one?
It is because there is a tradition that there are 12 days between Christmas Day and Epiphany, which is considered to be the day on which the three Wise Men came to worship Jesus. It used to be the custom to celebrate the 12 days by giving a gift on each day, rather than placing all the gifts under the Christmas tree.
I imagine that today we are much too impatient for that.
But it would be wonderful to continue to celebrate Christ's unselfish love for others long after Christmas Day is over. We don't have to do that with actual gifts, but we can give even better gifts -- "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Galatians 5:22).
Wouldn't it be a magnificent world if all of us did that?

Almighty Father, thank you for your gifts to us. Show us ways to pass these gifts on to others throughout all the days of the year.
Amen.

The mystery of this feast goes far deeper than the imagery of three kings following the star. It celebrates in mystical poetry the bursting of divine life through death-bound human existence. Three wise men from the East are led by the star over Bethlehem to recognize the King of Kings in a little baby.
An astounding mystery is proclaimed today: two natures are made anew. The Divine becomes human: what God was, God remains; what God was not, God takes on, suffering neither confusion nor division. Alleluia!
Go now in the light that surrounds us, the light of the Child of Bethlehem. Place your hope in him; rest in his peace; receive his love; celebrate him with joy!
Blessing from : www.followingthestar.org.
‘On Ya’ - ma

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