For some reason, as I read this chapter I was drawn into the wise men’s story. As we discover here, the wise men were not on scene to see Jesus in the animal stable in Bethlehem. You’re all probably aware of this.
But, were you aware of the tradition of “Three Wise Men’s Day” that is celebrated in Puerto Rico? I only found out a few years ago – and I have to say I like the sound of it. Even today, some Puerto Ricans exchange gifts on Jan. 6, which commemorates the Epiphany—the offering of gifts by the Three Wise Men to Jesus. As a matter of fact, in the 50s and 60s, Santa Claus was paraded along the streets of San Juan accompanied by men dressed as the Three Wise Men. Then, Santa was thought of as a menace who was taking over the Wise Men’s traditional task of bringing gifts.
The other thing I noticed about the wise men – they angered Herod by leaving without saying goodbye – because God had warned them not to return to Herod. So, Herod had every boy age 2 and under slaughtered – in an attempt to kill Jesus (who unbeknown to Herod had already fled to Egypt at the angel’s prompting).
Wow. Can you imagine?
17 Herod’s brutal action fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah: 18 “A cry of anguish is heard in Ramah – weeping and mourning unrestrained. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted – for they are dead.”
How many children died because of Herod’s pride and arrogance? What about the prophecy? God knew about this before it happened. Did Herod have a choice in the matter? Could he have chosen to belay that order?
Something to think about. This is another one of those mysteries I’ll never understand until I’m sitting on the “back porch” chatting with my buddies Pete, James & Job. (Lord, come quickly)