Reading: Matthew 2:1-12
What do we do with the wise men?
They don't really belong in the same pageant as the shepherds, do they -- even though we usually manage to squeeze them in? (What would a Christmas pageant be without bathrobe-clad, cardboard-crowned magi regally bearing gifts up the aisle of the sanctuary?) They come from a different Gospel (Matthew, rather than Luke) and it's clear that in the story they arrive some time later -- up to two years after the birth of Jesus, rather than the night of his birth.
So ... to be true to the story, how about an Epiphany pageant?
It's a great story, and could be great fun to act out.
On one hand, we have the magi -- strangers and seekers from another country, curious and open to truth and goodness wherever it is found, ready to journey and move into new territory, willing to pay homage and offer their gifts to truth of any colour or creed -- all in the name of greater truth.
On the other hand, we have the king and his Book-keepers -- fixed but insecure in their positions among and above the people of God, guarding the inherited tradition, wary of change and foreign influences, ready to resist and destroy challenges that arise to what they see as the best way for things to be -- all in the name of God.
Like us, the king and his Book-keepers must have wondered what to do with the wise men, and with the one they were looking for.
This Sunday, we're going to celebrate the story with our first-ever Epiphany pageant -- a simple little thing, and we'll see where we're led as the story plays out.