Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Home Group (11/29/07)
TITLE: Home Group: Humble Beginnings
By Rick Gray
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“I do not trust him,” said the magus as he stroked his long white beard, the Solomonic lines around his gentle dark eyes were etched deep in concern. “There is something about his eyes that don’t match his words, and his eyes…they betray his heart.” The venerable old sage, Melchior, the quiet one, as the others called him, was revered among the magi for his wisdom and good judgment. Like them, he could interpret the stars but more than that, he seemed to know what was in men.
“Yes, I too, am uncertain,” said Gaspar. “I imagine Herod has another reason for locating the child.” Haggard from the trip, weariness overtook his bronze features that even a nights rest at the caravanserai could not lift. Although resolute, his mighty frame slumped as if weighted by a camel’s burden. Herod’s behavior was of critical concern and Gaspar knew the man wasn’t to be taken lightly. The King of Judea was a tyrant and had a wickedness Gaspar had seen in no other. He ruled the region with dark suspicion and to protect his kingdom, was capable of the most heinous cruelty against humanity. Although Gaspar’s country was far to the East, Herod’s notoriety had reached the ears of his own people. His countrymen trembled when the star appeared and drew him away from them. “It is the appointed time. I must go, for the Blessed One has arrived but I will return to you, soon, and share with you all that I learn,” he assured them. His departure left a lonely ache in his chest that had remained the whole journey and was only relieved by gazing at the star moving before them.
“I dreamed last night,” said Balthazar. His humble black face pulled tight in distress as he considered their conversation. “A warning came...at first I was not certain...but, now…” He had their attention. As he looked into each face he was compelled to continue.
“Once we find the blessed child, we are to leave without Herod’s knowledge; we are to go another way out of Bethlehem, without delay.” Nodding heads and quiet peals of agreement grumbled from the group, lifting Balthazar’s trial. His thick black beard pulled back as a smile walked slowly across his face. It was true, he thought, The Almighty had come to inhabit his dream. Turning south, he took pace with the others.
The star shone brightly with promise, drawing them ever closer to the Christ-child, the King of the Jews, until resting over the little Town of Bethlehem, the blessed City of David. Their caravan had passed many hamlets scattered throughout the stony hill country of Judea, each offering little hope as to their occupancy. But at last, the flaming star, its brilliant shards slicing through the night sky like a centurion’s sword had settled. They had only to travel the four and a half miles from the Antonia Fortress in Jerusalem.
Heavy footsteps and clicking stones preceded the caravan as they trudged along the winding dirt roads of Judea and as they drew closer to the newborn King, their hearts burned within them filling the air with excitement. However, the fervent chatter was cut short, for as they rounded the last bend a heavenly choir reached the old men’s ears and the angel’s song for the Messiah echoed in the wind, resounding throughout the town and drawing the tender hearted to the home of God’s Son. “I could never have imagined such beauty,” Gaspar said, smiling at the others.
Melchior, Gaspar, Balthazar and the rest merged with the rejoicing shepherds. And as they approached the stable each of the magi withdrew the precious gifts carefully selected for royalty, yet confusion and uncertainty dispelled joy at the sight of the child’s surroundings. “How can this be?” said Gaspar, pity for the young mother and her child gripped his heart but quickly fled to be replaced again with joy when Melchior said: “Only a true King would leave his kingdom for such humility. We came here to meet a King, and so we have. But to be The King of kings one must condescend to his subjects. My heart tells me he will see more destitution and agony before his work is done. The scriptures say he will be a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief.”
The heavy thud of knees could be heard pounding the floor as all fell down and worshipped the child.
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