This morning we celebrate and remember the visit of the wise men or wise persons or wise women or wise folks to the home of a young Jesus. The wise folks came from the east or from deeper into what we now call Asia. They followed a star in the sky with a firm belief that there was going to be something mysterious and amazing at the end of their journey.
Most nativity scenes would have you believe that these wise folks were present there with the shepherds next to the manger right after the birth of Jesus. This was not the case. Many scholars believe that the wise folks arrived to meet Jesus as late as three years after his birth. If the star appeared in the sky right when Jesus was born…then the wise folks traveled for multiple years. How far then did these wise folks travel? Could they have come all the way from Thailand or Cambodia? Could it be possible that they were Buddhist monks? Some of this is mere speculation I know…but I have often dreamed of what it means that the wise folks came from the east.
While backpacking in Cambodia a few years ago, I had a beautiful encounter. I encountered a Buddhist monk while walking along a dirt road. We talked and walked together for hours. Though we were using different words in these deeply spiritual conversations, I could not help but wonder whether we were talking about the similar things. In these moments, I began to wonder if language was keeping me from deeper experiences of the divine.
When the eastern wise folks encountered Jesus…do you think that words were sufficient to describe what they saw? It seems to me that the spark of divine that the wise folks sought and we continue to seek was and always is beyond language, name or description. This is the divine that exists in the unexplainable beauty of wild untamed moments of hope. This is the divine who is love so loving that the divine exists beyond love. This is the divine that exists beyond…
When the wise folks looked to the star and started their journey they sought the divine beyond all the language they could muster and beyond their wildest dreams…may we be wise and go and do the same.