Nine Lessons and Carols: Eighth Lesson: Wise Men and Punctuality

Picture from

Picture from

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.


25 thoughts on “Nine Lessons and Carols: Eighth Lesson: Wise Men and Punctuality

  1. The other thing about those kings is their shopping habits. Frankincense and myhrrr? Really? How about formula and diapers! Or a couple of fleecy onesies. Now the gold I can understand.

  2. Lovely post!
    A very merry Christmas to you and your dear ones.
    May your glasses stay full and all your wishes for 2014 come true!
    Warm greetings from the North
    God jul!

  3. Merry Christmas, Kate. We may now have to stream that Monty
    Python tomorrow………..Please give my best wishes to Phil, Maddie, Felix and Macaulay, and tell those cats to keep misbehaving.

    1. Thanks Andra, and much love to the two of you. Life of Brian: one of the sanest looks at organised religion ever. 😀 What would we do without Python? We are all sitting here stuffed from Christmas dinner, and Al has been at his antics again. I hope I get time to write it down…

  4. I imagine Mary appreciated the Wise Men’s giving her a little time to get things squared away before they appeared.

    Great post. From now on, I’ll think of January 6 as the day the Wise Men come out from behind the television.

    1. 😀 It’s the thoroughly modern family take on events, Kathy! And I had not thought of poor Mary and all those guests with only a rough stable in which to host them. Good call.

  5. I am very much enjoying these meditations on themes suggested by the lessons — even if like the Magi I seem to proffer my verbal gifts several days late. They (your meditations of course) throw a focused beam into aspects of the readings that are always enlightening.

    We heard Kings College on the radio driving home from our daughter’s wedding, and I write this as the televised version is playing — very appropriate. Enjoy your Christmas, Kate, with your family around you.

    1. And you, Chris. The thanks are mutual. I have learned so much, both from that wonderful blog of yours about a mass of wonderful literature, and from your expansions on themes here, which never fail to teach me something new. Have a great break.

  6. Our wise men move about too, I think they like a chat with Joseph and the shepherds when they should be paying attention.
    Merry Christmas to you all x

    1. And to you, even though I did manage to call you Elspeth on your own site. And then urge you to Marry Christmas.Hope your day with Spurs Fan and the girls was everything you want it to be.

  7. Although following a bright star, those three have always struck me as being a bit dim. Mind you, they were rather discriminated against. The shepherds washing their socks had better angles … er, angels … on it.

  8. Kate, did you see my post on Three Wise Men? I always think it is interesting when people add them into a Nativity Scene. Also the number of Wise Men are not mentioned in the Gospel account.

  9. So funny! I have always loved the wise men in my nativity scene, and yet, yes, they are bringing up the rear! I think next year I’ll give them their own spot on a neighboring piece of furniture!

  10. We’ve always loved the “wise guys”, Kate, knowing full well that the story was edited, condensed, embellished, etc, but enjoying it just the same. One of our daughters coined the phrase, “the three wise guys”. We always leave our decorations up until they come in January, and used to put the magi in a spot of their own. Somehow, the boys didn’t come out this year, but, there are still a few days for them to wander on over to the Cutoff.

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