They do not mix, you know, wise men and punctuality.
For the simple reason that they are thinking so hard they forget to do the little things. Like get on a camel and tell it to go in the right direction. Their eyes are fixed on the stars, marvelling at the incredible lightness of being and how all things, even galaxies, are interconnected, and they just trust the camel has satellite navigation and a concept of schedule.
Of course, the star was late too. One must be fair. But every year, when the crib goes up in thousands upon thousands of churches in myriad countries, the cry from the little ones goes up: “Where are the kings?”
Of course, they do not appear until January 6th, the traditional date set for their arrival. How to portray this in 3D?
The answer, in most crib settings, is to put the wise men a little way away, still journeying whilst the rest of the ensemble are partying. In churches that might be the other side of the altar; in our house, it is behind the television.
A 21st century family, we have Mary, Joseph and Jesus in front of a huge television screen, like pop stars at a rock concert. It is, to be exact, our television. How the Baby Jesus ever gets a wink of sleep is beyond me. The infant child has a great televisual diet, however, which includes several top Christmas films and a considerable amount of Doctor Who. The sheep and oxen stand, lowing, unimpressed by the antics of the time lord, but I fancy Joseph looks a bit impressed.
And behind the television – or just at its end – the wise men hold out their gifts. Not yet, chaps, I tell them every day. A few days more.
Someone, however,can seem to bear the latecomers no more. Of late, the wise men have been arriving rather too much. I walk into the sitting room and there they are again, proffering gold, frankincense and myrrh before the infant Jesus has even technically been born.
Steady on, chaps. Back up a bit.
I put them back, but before long they have returned, hob-mobbing with the Christchild once again, Mary looking on reprovingly whilst Joseph winces.
Dr Who does not seem to mind.
Thank you, Nancy Hatch of Spirit Lights The Way, for reminding me of the Monty Python take on the visit of the Magi.