Today is the Feast of the Epiphany that celebrates the visit of the Three Wise Men to the infant Jesus. As children, we would take the wise men from the manger scene in the living room and put them somewhere else in the house. Each day during the four weeks of Advent we would advance them (and maybe a camel, too) toward the manger scene and, hopefully, we got them all there on time and in one piece (the ones we had as kids were bigger, made of ceramic, and had more detailed features than the ones here; I recall one being knocked off the stairs and some broken bits). I was always intrigued by the names of the wise men — Caspar, Melchior, Balthasar (and their multi-cultural appearance) — and the We Three Kings carol with its E minor sound, both mournful and joyous:
We three kings of Orient are;
Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star
Three kings in the manger that Pap built; during Advent, each time we did a good deed we could take some straw "hay" out of a jar and put it in the manger to insure a comfortable setting for the baby / New Jersey / Dec. 2006
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