MAGI CAME FROM THE EAST
Foreigners from afar, that’s what they knew us to be. Aliens, yes. But people had heard spoken of magi like us back there who could read the stars. Indeed, our school was known for predicting kings, “So, why come here?” We answered, “You see that star? Even there we saw it one evening, at its shar-ma – its appearance – the ‘rising’ before its setting as it were; because it was right next to Venus low in the western sky. It was a sign in the heavens with a meaning for us. And that is why we have come, for your God is the King of Heaven.”
“You say, He’s born already?”
“Then, you should go tell them in Jerusalem.”
There was no need to tell. The news of a birth had spread fast ahead. In the city small gatherings were talking in whispers; for among the soldiers, we learned, there were other paid men who would tell. When we asked one group, “Where?” they just turned their backs, not trusting us. We tried some ragged shepherd boys. They could not understand; for our words were thick. Suddenly one smiled and pointed south. That was all. Now surely, that learned cleric would know. But he just yawned, not interested. And turned away; then through his beard as a throw-out “Go, try the ‘House of Bread’. In the next street was a busy bakery by that name, so we asked. They also smiled; and also gave us bread – bless them! Still no answer to our query; until a kindly farmer among the folk around said ‘Bet-lechem’ was a village name. Just 6 miles he said.
Beyond the city walls low in the west was the Star. Soon it would set; it was late. Tomorrow we could ask the way. For now we would sleep.
But that was not for long. Rough hands dragged us from the straw. We could hear the clink of their swords, although they’d come stealthily in rag-muffled boots. Herod the puppet king was interested – too much so it seemed. He asked, “How long ago?” And other queries made, along with imperious demand to return and tell him what we found. That was, we later learned, lest any boy escape.
Back again in the barn we slept little, and early rose. Bedding rolls packed and fee paid, we quickly left. Our camels picked their way past rubbish, over cobbles on their naturally muffled feet, through narrow unlit alleys, and out through the south east gate. Now we’d soon be there, as under open skies they strode, sky that was growing bright in the east. Then a cluster of houses took shape ahead. We climbed the long slope, and – wonder of wonders! – from up behind one roof the Star appeared.
Inside were gentle parents with an infant. In the quietness of that room we made those offerings for royalty that were the proper worship for us as magi to make. Then we prostrated; for no gift could suffice. And truly He was the giver, not we, for there was a swelling peace in our hearts, and a wonder at seeing the Child King in a mother’s arms.
Homeward bound we rode the miles. On dusty trails, past mountains, over steppes; and through lush oases with their busy towns. Then on again, staying in hostelries where men of nations mixed, or at caravanserai with evenings spent in quiet talk, seated on fireside rugs under the heavens. Asia is long and real. We relished it. Our camels too, for they lightly trod the roads. Perhaps their burden was light because we were uplifted. We magi had scanned the skies, had looked beyond the cycle of heartless lore, which sages said was writ for us, beyond some final merging with eternity and emptiness. Had looked and hoped; for was that really all? Was there nothing for the heart of man?
And now we had found it.
No, rather, He had found us. The King of heaven whose works are truth and His ways judgment, He had come in love and warmth to dwell with men on earth.
ཕོ་ཉས་དེ་རྣམས་ལ་འདི་སྐད༌དུ། མ་འཇིགས༌ཤིག ངས་ཁྱོད་ཅག་ལ་ཤིན་ཏུ་དགའ་འོས་པའི་འཕྲིན་བཟང་མི་ཐམས་ཅད་དང་འབྲེལ་བ་ཞིག་འཆད༌དེ།
གློ་བུར༌དུ། ནམ་མཁའི་ཞིང་ཁམས་ནས་ཕོ་ཉའི་དཔུང་ཚོགས་ལས་ཤིན་ཏུ་མང་པོ་གནས་དེར་སླེབས་ཤིང༌། ཕོ་ཉ་དེ་དང་ལྷན་ཅིག་གིས་དཀོན་མཆོག་ལ་བསྟོད་བསྔགས་བྱེད་བཞིན་འདི་སྐད༌དུ།
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”