The Other Wise Man Story

Visit of Magi Icon

Celebrating the Epiphany of our Lord

On Sunday, January 6, 2019, we celebrated the Epiphany of our Lord at worship.  As part of this, Pastor David Tinker shared this abridged version of the famous story, The Other Wise Man, by Henry Van Dyke.

There are numerous editions of the entire story available through book stores and online retailers.  Here is a link to one such version on Amazon.com.  Since there are many versions, you can see other options on that web site.

Here is the abridge version as shared at worship.  Thanks to Pastor Mark Gibbs of St. Michael Lutheran Church, Ottawa Lake, Michigan, for doing the abridgement of this classic tale.

 

The Other Wise Man

“The Other Wise Man” by Henry van Dyke is a powerful story for the Epiphany.  It was first published in 1895.  Today I present an abridged version.

In the days when Augustus Caesar was master of many kings and Herod reigned in Jerusalem, there lived among the mountains of Persia a certain man named Artaban, one of the Magi. Artaban, like his friends Caspar, Melchoir, and Balthasar, had observed the star and consulted the ancient prophecies regarding the coming child king. He sold all his belongings to purchase gifts for the child-King; a sapphire, a ruby, and a pearl. Then he set out on a ten-day journey, to meet his friends, so together they might search for the King.

Time was short. If Artaban arrived too late, his friends would leave without him. Yet, he made good time and on the tenth day his goal was within his grasp.  Only three more hours of hard riding and he would make his rendezvous with his friends. But suddenly, he saw something before him and he reined his horse to a stop. Artaban dismounted.  The dim starlight revealed the form of a man lying across the road. His humble dress and the outline of his haggard face showed that he was probably a Hebrew.  The chill of death was in his lean hand. Artaban turned away with a thought of pity. But as he turned, a long, faint, ghostly sigh came from the man’s lips. The bony fingers gripped the hem of the Magian’s robe and held him fast.

Artaban’s heart leapt to his throat, not with fear, but with a speechless resentment at the importunity of this blind delay.  If he lingered but for an hour his companions would think he had given up the journey. But if he went on now, the man would surely die…

Artaban turned back to the sick man. He stayed there and ministered to the man, for Magians are physician as well.

At last the man’s strength returned; he sat up and looked about him. “Who art thou?” he said, “and why hast thou sought me here to bring back my life?”

“I am Artaban the Magian, and I am going to Jerusalem in search of one who is to be born king of the Jews.”

The Jew raised his trembling hand solemnly to heaven.  “I have nothing to give thee in return – only this: that I can tell thee where the Messiah must be sought.  For our prophets said that he should be born not in Jerusalem, but in Bethlehem of Judah.  May the Lord bring thee in safety to that place, because thou hast had pity upon the sick.”

Artaban pushed on, but alas, he arrived too late. His friends had left without him, leaving him only a note beneath a brick, saying he should purchase provisions and follow them across the desert.  And so he did. He sold his sapphire to purchase the caravan of camels to carry him across the sea of sand that lay before him. After many days, he arrived in the little village of Bethlehem.

The streets of the village seemed to be deserted.  From the open door of a cottage he heard the sound of a woman’s voice singing softly. He entered and found a young mother hushing her baby to rest.  She told him of the strangers from the Far East who had appeared in the village three days ago, and how they said that a star had guided them to the place where Joseph of Nazareth was lodging with his wife and her newborn child.  “But the travelers disappeared again,” she continued, “as suddenly as they had come. The man of Nazareth took the child and his mother, and fled away that same night secretly to Egypt.”

The young mother laid the baby in its cradle, and rose to minister to the wants of the strange guest that fate had brought into her house.  But suddenly there came a noise of a wild confusion in the streets of the village and a desperate cry: “The soldiers!  The soldiers of Herod! They are killing our children!”  The young mother’s face grew white with terror.  She clasped her child to her bosom.  Artaban went quickly and stood in the doorway of the house. The soldiers came hurrying down the street with bloody hands and dripping swords. At the sight of the stranger in his imposing dress they hesitated with surprise. The captain of the band approached the threshold to thrust him aside. But Artaban did not stir. He said in a low voice, “I am all alone in this place, and I am waiting to give this jewel to the prudent captain who will leave me in peace.”

He showed the ruby, glistening in the hollow of his hand like a drop of blood.  The captain was amazed at the splendor of the gem. The pupils of his eyes expanded with desire. He stretched out his hand and took the ruby.  “March on!” he cried to his men.

Artaban reentered the cottage. He turned his face to the east and prayed, “God of truth, forgive my sin! I have said the thing that is not, to save the life of a child. And two of my gifts are gone.”

But the voice of the woman, weeping for joy in the shadow behind him, said very gently, “Because thou hast saved the life of my little one, may the Lord always bless thee.”

And so Artaban pushed on. Down into Egypt he traveled in search of the King. Still his search was to no avail as the King was nowhere to be found. While in Egypt he took counsel with a Hebrew rabbi.  The venerable man read aloud from the sacred scrolls the pathetic words which foretold the sufferings of the promised Messiah. “And remember, my son,” he said, “the King who thou seekest is not to be found among the rich and powerful. Those who seek him will do well to look among the poor and the lowly, the sorrowful and the oppressed.”

Three and thirty years Artaban searched for the King. Worn and weary and ready to die he had come for the last time to Jerusalem.  It was the season of the Passover and the city was thronged with strangers. There had been a confusion of tongues in the narrow streets for many days.  But on this day a singular agitation was visible in the multitude. The clatter of sandals flowed unceasingly along the street that led to the Damascus gate.

Artaban inquired of a group of people nearby the cause of the tumult. “We are going,” they answered, “to the place called Golgotha, outside the city walls, where there is to be an execution.  Two famous robbers are to be crucified, and with them another, called Jesus of Nazareth, who has done many wonderful works among the people, so that they love him greatly.”

Artaban’s heart beat unsteadily with the excitement of old age. He said to himself, “It may be that I shall at last find the King, and in the hands of his enemies no less, and shall come in time to offer my pearl for his ransom before he dies.”  So the old man followed the multitude toward the Damascus gate of the city.

Just then, a troop of soldiers came down the street, dragging a young girl. Suddenly she broke from the hands of her tormentors, and threw herself at Artaban’s feet. “Have pity on me,” she cried, “and save me. My father is dead, and I am seized for his debts to be sold as a slave.”

Artaban trembled. It was the old conflict in his soul, which had come to him in the palm-grove of Persia and in the cottage at Bethlehem.  Twice the gift which he had consecrated to the worship of God had been drawn to the service of humanity. He took the pearl from his bosom and laid it in the hand of the slave-girl.  “This is thy ransom, daughter!  It is the last of my treasures which I kept for the King.”

While he spoke, the darkness of the sky deepened, and tremors ran through the earth. The walls of the houses rocked to and fro. Stones were loose and crashed into the street. The soldiers fled in terror, but Artaban and the girl whom he had ransomed crouched helpless beneath the wall of the Praetorium.  A heavy tile, shaken from the roof, fell and struck the old man on the temple. He lay breathless and pale, with his gray head resting on the girl’s shoulder, and blood trickling from the wound.

Then the old man’s lips began to move and the girl heard him say, “Not so, my Lord! For when saw I thee hungry and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw thee a stranger, and took thee in? Or naked and clothed thee? Three and thirty years have I looked for thee, but I have never seen thy face, nor ministered to thee, my King.”

He ceased and there came a sound akin to a sweet voice. The maid heard it, very faint and far away. And it seemed as though she understood the words, “Verily I say unto thee, inasmuch as thou has done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, thou hast done it unto me.”

A calm radiance of wonder and joy lighted the pale face of Artaban.  A long breath of relief exhaled gently from his lips.  His journey was ended.  His treasures were accepted. The Other Wise Man had found the King.

 

 

Special Music Concert – January 8


Epiphany Music Concert

Special Music Concert – Sunday, January 8, 4-6 p.m. at MLLC. All are invited. 
We invite you to attend the “11th Night Concert” this Sunday, January 8, 4-6 p.m. at Martin Luther Lutheran Church in Carmine. There will be various musicians and singers presenting Christmas and Epiphany songs. A reception will follow. The musicians will be from various area Lutheran churches.  

The 12 Days of Christmas

Nativity Sacred Art NatShepherdMurillo

 

by Pastor David Tinker
Martin Luther Lutheran Church
Carmine, Texas

When are the 12 Days of Christmas?

The 12 Days of Christmas are the days of the Christmas Season. These are the days between the Nativity of our Lord (December 25) and the Epiphany of our Lord (January 6). There are 2 traditions of counting these 12 Days of Christmas. One tradition is that the 12 Days of Christmas start on Christmas Day, and conclude on “Twelfth Night”, which is January 5. The second tradition is that the 12 Days of Christmas begin on December 26, and run through January 6. “Twelfth Night” would then be January 6. Despite the promotions and activity of our culture, the Christian “Christmas Season” begins on Christmas Day, rather than during the time leading up to Christmas.

Celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas

Here are some ways to mark the 12 Days of Christmas in your home and daily life.
— Daily read something in the Bible about the birth and youth of Jesus. Look especially in Matthew chapters 1-2, and Luke chapter 2.
— For fun with your family sing the popular song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” — “on the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me..” Maybe do only the total number of days which have passed. Only on January 5 or 6, depending on how you count these days, would you sing all twelve verses. Another option would be to play a recording of someone singing this popular song.
— Tell others about the 12 Days of Christmas, such as in conversation, letters, e-mail, or on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
— Use 12 candles to count off the days during a meal or at devotions. One more candle is lit each day until all are lit on January 5th or 6th.
— Keep your Christmas tree up until at least January 6.
— Send your Christmas cards during this time, and possibly note the 12 Days of Christmas in your letter to family and friends.
— Attend worship at Martin Luther Lutheran Church in Carmine on the two weekends which always occur in the 12 Days of Christmas. These will be on December 27 and January 3 for this season (2015-2016). Some folks pull back from worship during this time and miss out on a joyful time of the year at church.
— Schedule Christmas Parties during this time. You will be less stressed and it will give your friends another chance to get together for joyful fellowship.

Special Days during the 12 Days of Christmas

*December 26 – The Feast of St. Stephen, Deacon and Martyr. Read about his ministry in Acts chapters 6 and 7
*December 27 – The Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist. Read one of the books connected to his ministry, such as the Gospel of John, the three letters of John, and Revelation.
*December 28 – Remembrance of the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem, Martyrs. Read about these victims of tyranny in Matthew chapter 2, especially verses 16-18.
*December 31 – New Year’s Eve – a chance to reflect on God’s grace for you during this past year.
*January 1 – The Name of Jesus. On this day we remember Jesus’ 8th day. Read about this in Luke 2:21. This is when his name was announced in a public way.
*The Epiphany of our Lord – January 6
‘The People who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness — on them light has shined.’ — Isaiah 9:2

The Epiphany of our Lord is mostly known as the celebration of the arrival of the Magi for their visit to bring their gifts of Jesus. It is much more. When we celebrate the Epiphany we are celebrating the spreading of the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Epiphany reminds us about the growing glory of God in the Son of God/Son of Man, Jesus Christ. Epiphany is the manifestation, or showing, of Jesus to the world. The Magi were non-Jewish foreigners who came to worship Jesus, and are thus representatives of those who would eventually benefit from the birth, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus. This visit, from Matthew chapter 2, foreshadows the mission which Jesus grants to his followers. In the Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20, our Lord commands us to make disciples of all nations, not just of the Jews.

Celebrating the Epiphany of our Lord

— Attend worship on Sunday, January 3, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. as we celebrate the Epiphany of our Lord at Martin Luther Lutheran Church in Carmine.
— Read the story of the Magi in Matthew, which is told throughout chapter 2.
— Pray for Christian missionaries as they spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
— Pray for the Church around the world.
— Host an Epiphany Party.
— Give generously to people in need. Remember, as Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
— Sing “We Three Kings” and/or “The First Noel”
— Attend worship on all or most every weekend in the season after the Epiphany.

Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh

The gifts of the Magi to Jesus point us to who Jesus really is:

*The Magi offer Gold, a possession of kings.
*The Magi offer Frankincense, used in ritual and prayer to indicate the presence of God
*The Magi offer myrrh, an oil used at the time of death as well as for anointing priests.

By their gifts, the wise men reveal the identity of this child:

*the king before whom nations will bow down
*the anointed high priest of God
*and the suffering servant who will die for the ones he has come to serve

The 12 Days of Christmas, and then Epiphany

Nativity Olive Wood

by Pastor David Tinker

Martin Luther Lutheran Church

Carmine, Texas

When are the 12 Days of Christmas?

The 12 Days of Christmas are the days of the Christmas Season.  These are the days between the Nativity of our Lord (December 25) and the Epiphany of our Lord (January 6). There are 2 traditions of counting these 12 Days of Christmas. One tradition is that the 12 Days of Christmas start on Christmas Day, and conclude on “Twelfth Night”, which is January 5. The second tradition is that the 12 Days of Christmas begin on December 26, and run through January 6.  “Twelfth Night” would then be January 6. Despite the promotions and activity of our culture, the Christian “Christmas Season” begins on Christmas Day, rather than during the time leading up to Christmas.

Celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas

Here are some ways to mark the 12 Days of Christmas in your home and daily life.

— Daily read something in the Bible about the birth and youth of Jesus.  Look especially in Matthew chapters 1-2, and Luke chapter 2.

— For fun with your family sing the popular song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” — “on the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me..”  Maybe do only the total number of days which have passed.  Only on January 5 or 6, depending on how you count these days, would you sing all twelve verses.  Another option would be to play a recording of someone singing this popular song.

— Tell others about the 12 Days of Christmas, such as in conversation, letters, e-mail, or on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

— Use 12 candles to count off the days during a meal or at devotions.  One more candle is lit each day until all are lit on January 5th or 6th.

— Keep your Christmas tree up until at least January 6.

— Send your Christmas cards during this time, and possibly note the 12 Days of Christmas in your letter to family and friends.

— Attend worship at Martin Luther Lutheran Church in Carmine on the two weekends which always occur in the 12 Days of Christmas.  Some folks pull back from worship during this time and miss out on a joyful time of the year at church.

— Schedule Christmas Parties during this time.  You will be less stressed and it will give your friends another chance to get together for joyful fellowship.

 

Special Days during the 12 Days of Christmas

December 26 – The Feast of St. Stephen, Deacon and Martyr.  Read about his ministry in Acts chapters 6 and 7

December 27 – The Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist.  Read one of the books connected to his ministry, such as the Gospel of John, the three letters of John, and Revelation.

December 28 – Remembrance of the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem, Martyrs.  Read about these victims of tyranny in Matthew chapter 2, especially verses 16-18.

December 31 – New Year’s Eve – a chance to reflect on God’s grace for you during this past year.

January 1 – The Name of Jesus.  On this day we remember Jesus’ 8th day.  Read about this in Luke 2:21.  This is when his name was announced in a public way.

The Epiphany of our Lord – January 6

‘The People who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness — on them light has shined.’ — Isaiah 9:2

The Epiphany of our Lord is mostly known as the celebration of the arrival of the Magi for their visit to bring their gifts of Jesus.  It is much more.  When we celebrate the Epiphany we are celebrating the spreading of the Good News of Jesus Christ.  The Epiphany reminds us about the growing glory of God in the Son of God/Son of Man, Jesus Christ. Epiphany is the manifestation or showing of Jesus to the world.  The Magi were non-Jewish foreigners who came to worship Jesus, and are thus representatives of who would eventually benefit from the birth, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus.  This visit, from Matthew chapter 2, foreshadows the mission which Jesus grants to his followers.  In the Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20, our Lord commands us to make disciples of all nations, not just of the Jews.

Celebrating the Epiphany of our Lord

— Attend worship on Sunday, January 4, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. as we celebrate the Epiphany of our Lord at Martin Luther Lutheran Church in Carmine.

— Read the story of the Magi in Matthew chapter 2

— Pray for Christian missionaries as they spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

— Pray for the Church around the world.

— Host an Epiphany Party.

— Give generously to people in need. Remember, as Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) — Sing “We Three Kings” and/or “The First Noel”

— Attend worship on all or most every weekend in the season after the Epiphany.

Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh

The gifts of the Magi to Jesus point us to who Jesus really is. The Magi offer gold, a possession of kings; frankincense, used in ritual and prayer to indicate the presence of God; and myrrh, an oil used at the time of death as well as for anointing priests. By their gifts, the wise men reveal the identity of this child: the king before whom nations will bow down, the anointed high priest of God, and the suffering servant who will die for the ones he has come to serve.

Celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas and the Epiphany of our Lord

by Pastor David Tinker

Martin Luther Lutheran Church

Carmine, Texas

20131226-155741.jpgWhen are the 12 Days of Christmas?

The 12 Days of Christmas are the days of the Christmas Season.  These are the days between the Nativity of our Lord (December 25) and the Epiphany of our Lord (January 6).

There are 2 traditions of counting these 12 Days of Christmas.

One tradition is that the 12 Days of Christmas start on Christmas Day, and conclude on “Twelfth Night”, which is January 5.

The second tradition is that the 12 Days of Christmas begin on December 26, and run through January 6.  “Twelfth Night” would then be January 6.

Despite the promotions and activity of our culture, the Christian “Christmas Season” begins on Christmas Day, rather than during the time leading up to Christmas.

Celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas

Here are some ways to mark the 12 Days of Christmas in your home and daily life.

— Daily read something in the Bible about the birth and youth of Jesus.  Look especially in Matthew chapters 1-2, and Luke chapter 2.

— For fun with your family sing the popular song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” — “on the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me..”  Maybe do only the total number of days which have passed.  Only on January 5 or 6, depending on how you count these days, would you sing all twelve verses.  Another option would be to play a recording of someone singing this popular song.

— Tell others about the 12 Days of Christmas, such as in conversation, letters, e-mail, or on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

— Use 12 candles to count off the days during a meal or at devotions.  One more candle is lit each day until all are lit on January 5th or 6th.

— Keep your Christmas tree up until at least January 6.

— Send your Christmas cards during this time, and possibly note the 12 Days of Christmas in your letter to family and friends.

— Attend worship at Martin Luther Lutheran Church in Carmine on the two weekends which always occur in the 12 Days of Christmas.  Some folks pull back from worship during this time and miss out on a joyful time of the year at church.

— Schedule Christmas Parties during this time.  You will be less stressed and it will give your friends another chance to get together for joyful fellowship.

Special Days during the 12 Days of Christmas

December 26 – The Feast of St. Stephen, Deacon and Martyr.  Read about his ministry in Acts chapters 6 and 7

December 27 – The Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist.  Read one of the books connected to his ministry, such as the Gospel of John, the three letters of John, and Revelation.

December 28 – Remembrance of the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem, Martyrs.  Read about these victims of tyranny in Matthew chapter 2, especially verses 16-18.

December 31 – New Year’s Eve – a chance to reflect on God’s grace for you during this past year.

January 1 – The Name of Jesus.  On this day we remember Jesus’ 8th day.  Read about this in Luke 2:21.  This is when his name was announced publically.

The Epiphany of our Lord – January 6

‘The People who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness — on them light has shined.’

— Isaiah 9:2

The Epiphany of our Lord is mostly known as the celebration of the arrival of the Magi for their visit to bring their gifts of Jesus.  It is much more.  When we celebrate the Epiphany we are celebrating the spreading of the Good News of Jesus Christ.  The Epiphany reminds us about the growing glory of God in the Son of God/Son of Man, Jesus Christ.

Epiphany is the manifestation or showing of Jesus to the world.  The Magi were non-Jewish foreigners who came to worship Jesus, and are thus representatives of who would eventually benefit from the birth, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus.  This visit, from Matthew chapter 2, foreshadows the mission which Jesus grants to his followers.  In the Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20, our Lord commands us to make disciples of all nations, not just of the Jews.

Celebrating the Epiphany of our Lord

— Attend worship on Sunday, January 5, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. as we celebrate the Epiphany of our Lord at Martin Luther Lutheran Church in Carmine.

— Read the story of the Magi in Matthew chapter 2

— Pray for Christian missionaries as they spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

— Pray for the Church around the world.

— Host an Epiphany Party.

— Give generously to people in need. Remember, as Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)

— Sing “We Three Kings” and/or “The First Noel”

— Attend worship on all or most every weekend in the season after the Epiphany.

Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh

The gifts of the Magi to Jesus point us to who Jesus really is. The Magi offer gold, a possession of kings; frankincense, used in ritual and prayer to indicate the presence of God; and myrrh, an oil used at the time of death as well as for anointing priests. By their gifts, the wise men reveal the identity of this child: the king before whom nations will bow down, the anointed high priest of God, and the suffering servant who will die for the ones he has come to serve.