Gold. Incense. Myrrh.
Not, I think, token gifts.
They come in search of a future king:
one of their own kind
in a royal court,
a familiar world of diplomacy and patronage of the arts and sciences.
They find him in unfamiliar surroundings. A small town on the edge of the capital. The kind of house the subjects of kings live in, not kings themselves. Not even courtiers, civil servants, academics.
But they unpack their treasure chests.
They might have kept them closed. Told anyone who enquired that they contained necessary provisions for their trip. Made polite noises – as politicians are supposed to do when they visit the voting public – and then a swift get-away, speeding up the highway by night.
But they don’t.
They give what they have.
The tools of wealth – which will come in more than handy to a family soon to be political refugees.
The tools of prayer – of interceding before God on behalf of the poor, of standing with the oppressed.
The tools of mourning – to give a proper burial to infants massacred by a dictator, or those whose life would end too soon through the harsh realities of life among the common man.
Wise Men. Few and far between today, I tell you.
May the Christ-child, born again and again, set free within us compassion for our neighbour. Christ, have mercy.