As an Epiphany gift to you, loyal reader, I thought I'd post a brief seasonal excerpt from my new book Father Tim's Church Survival Guide.
Enjoy. Then buy the book. Then be the first person to post a review on Amazon. Then help yourself to some stale Christmas cookies.
The Top Reasons the Magi were Late
As everyone knows, we celebrate the arrival of the Magi to the manger on January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany. Well, unless your only contact with the Christmas story is an annual pageant in which case you believe they arrived right after the shepherds on Christmas Eve.
Don’t get me started on the way we jumble the story at pageants (the shepherds and wise men never meet!). But I sure won’t be the one to tell the pageant director (and the parents) that there won’t be any frankincense this year.
The reality is that, according to Scripture, the Magi arrived twelve days later. Perhaps by then Jesus was sleeping through the night (let’s face it, that first night might have been holy but, as any parent knows, there was surely nothing “silent” about it).
Anyway, this got me wondering about what kept the three kings from making an on-time arrival. I scoured many sources at the Vatican library and came up with the following possibilities:
- Balthazar took forever doing his hair while Caspar and Melchior sat on their camels and stewed.
- The holiday traffic on the way into Bethlehem was dreadful.
- Four words: goats in the road.
- The Star of Bethlehem (the original GPS) kept saying “recalculating” and they found themselves in a sketchy part of town.
- Caspar drank way too much water at the first oasis which meant an extra long stop at the Molly Pitcher rest stop.
- Untying fancy sandals to go through the TSA checkpoint took a long time. Retying them took forever.
- Due to poor behavior on the part of the other two kings, Melchior had to pull over more than once to yell, “If you don’t stop fighting I’m going to turn this caravan right around!”
- Stopping at the Holiday Inn slowed them down because, in a precursor to today’s “culture wars,” Balthazar kept insisting the name should be changed to “Christmas Inn.”
- “I told you that stop at Herod’s house was a waste of time.”
- They took a vote and decided to take their sweet time getting to the manger so they would have a day all to themselves on the Church calendar.