Once upon a time there was a King who heard about Christmas for the very first time. This is not surprising, because there had never been a Christmas before. That’s right. Believe it or not, there was a time when the day we know as Christmas was just another day. The marketplace was not full of holiday shoppers. There were no trees decorated with shiny ornaments. There were no carolers in the streets because no songs had been written.
The news came to the King in a very unusual way. There were these three guys who decided to make a road trip together because according to their calculations something remarkable was about to happen, and they wanted to be there to see it for themselves. It was, according to them, an event of immense importance and mind-blowing significance such as the world had never seen.
Imagine if the Fab Four from Liverpool decided to get back together for one last concert. Yeah, I know they’re not all still living. But what if they were, and what if they were as good as ever, and what if they were coming to your hometown to rock the night away. You live in Podunk Corner; not the most jazzy place in the world, but they’ve chosen your town for one of the most unbelievable comebacks of all time.
This was like that, only with way more at stake. Good will to all mankind was teetering on the edge of the abyss. Peace on earth was just a pipe dream.
Well, when these three guys headed out to find their way to this event, they really had no idea where they were headed. They were star gazers and had noticed a new light in the sky. They didn’t have access to the JWST Telescope, but they were observant. Most of the stars up there had been around since Adam put on his first Nike fig leaf. The same old Big Dipper. The same old Orion. But this one; this one caught their attention.
You see, people who spend a lot of time looking at the stars are people who see things bigger than this world can grasp or imagine. Star gazing puts a man’s mind in tune with things like wonder and awe and quantum physics. Things a putz like me can hardly begin to comprehend.
So, they packed up their toothbrushes and hit the road.
The thing about this trip is that the sense of direction you get from following a star is somewhat vague. These guys were from somewhere south of the Himalayan mountains. This star floated somewhere up above the western horizon. The road they chose took them toward someplace in the west. That’s about all the information they had. And honestly, they were so stoked on what this star might mean, they really didn’t care where the road would take them. They just followed it as best they could.
A long ways from home and after months of camel riding, they were a little sore in the saddle when they crossed the river into this little God-forsaken country that was hardly a pint-sized mark on the map. By all their discussions around the many campfires along the way, they had come to the conclusion that this star was announcing the birth of a new king. And they decided that if they were going to find this child, who better to ask for directions than the local head honcho. The reigning King would surely know if there was a new King in town.
As it turned out, he didn’t know. The King called in some experts on the matter and put the question to them. They dug out the old records and quoted a few lines from a guy who lived about 2800 years before Silent Night was ever written. According to them, this new King, if in fact there was one, was to be born in some little no-name town “just a few miles that way.” And they pointed in that direction.
The King pretended to be excited about this new discovery, but on the inside he was fuming. Anger. Fear. He wasn’t prepared to step aside. He was not comfortable with the idea that somebody out there was going to challenge his throne. A dark and evil spirit entered his heart.
The three wise guys thanked the King for his help and headed out into the night. They found the child. They astonished his parents with stories that have become the inspiration for Hallmark Cards and Christmas Carols sung the world over. They even brought gifts and left them under the tree next to the front door. Gifts wrapped in fine paper with cute little oriental bows on top.
But they were sharp enough to read between the lines with the King. When their visit came to an end, they took another road out of town and headed back east. There was no star to follow this time, yet the ride home was even more remarkable for they had knelt in the presence of true Greatness.
Meanwhile, the old King paced the palace floor with a grim shadow hovering nearby. He gave the order to kill; to send soldiers who would snatch little boys from their mother’s arms. Bash their heads in. Run them through with the sword. He didn’t care how it got done. He just wanted it done. No one else was going to be King while he was still able to draw breath. “Kill them all,” he said.
It would be told later that the weeping in that little town could be heard for miles. The small streams that flowed south to the river were filled with tears, mixed with blood. So many holes were dug in the ground that those who buried the children didn’t know where they would put them all. A heavy sorrow hung over that town for years like a fog that refused to lift, even on a sunny day.
The old King was sure that he had put a stop to this whole crazy mess. There would be no Christmas if he had anything to say about it.
But he didn’t have a say. The one child he intended to kill escaped before the soldiers struck the first blow. Call it what you will. Providential. Miraculous. The luck of the draw. Christmas was not going to be denied. The star that the three wise guys followed was not going to be snuffed out that easy.
It would be thirty years or so before this child would enter into the view of public scrutiny again. He kept his Kingdom hidden. He only revealed it’s true meaning to a handful of rag-tag men who were a little slow to catch on. He even ended up dying much like those little boys did thirty years earlier, pierced, and bloody.
It’s a remarkable story. Tyranny still fears him. The unwise forget him. But without him, it’s not Christmas.
He is the only King who has a snowballs chance of bringing peace and good will to all mankind on this earth.
But then, “on earth” is not really the point, is it?
2 thoughts on “Peace On Earth”
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Betty and I are watching the tv series “CHOSEN”. The greatest story for all mankind. Uplifting and it makes the characters come alive this holiday season.
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