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Encounter with a Wise Man

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ENCOUNTER WITH A WISE MAN

A Christmas Tale of Wisdom

Paul T Kidd
ISBN 978-1-901864-14-4 (Paperback)
Price: See buy on-line link
 
 
 
 
 

Extract from: Encounter with a Wise Man

You have all heard, I feel sure, of the three wise men who journeyed from the east to the small town of Bethlehem. This is an enduring aspect to the nativity story – three wise and, presumably, wealthy individuals, undertaking a long and arduous journey, and mostly likely a dangerous one too. And what of the purpose of this extended and challenging voyage across deserts and mountains? This, as we all know, was to pay homage to a baby born of humble parents, in the poorest of settings; for these wise men knew, or at least strongly suspected, that this child was more than just one more human born into a world of suffering and strife, intermingled with moments of joy, happiness, and love, as is the way of life.
I will tell you here that what I am about to reveal to you concerns an encounter with one of these wise men – my tale is based on an unexpected and very unusual meeting. In these so-called modern times, where life is bound up with the apparent sophistication that comes from having many wonderful artefacts in our lives (that is to say, of course, compared with circumstances 2,000 years ago when the events that I am about to reveal took place), it is far harder to believe in that which has no physical form, or that which involves mysteries that cannot be fathomed through a scientific approach. In the modern world, the utility of human endeavours has to be counted in terms of making life materially better, or its contribution to supposedly laying bare the mysteries of the universe, or running our lives faster and more efficiently as though we are all little businesses, where time is money, but where there is no time for that which really matters.
It is, indeed, a long way from the deserts of the past to the modern cities of the present. Perhaps it is a measure of how far humankind has fallen that it was so easy for those who dwelt in the deserts of the world to believe and to be wise! But what exactly am I referring to? This question is more profound than it may seem, for I am not talking just about belief in God. Let me elucidate before embarking on my most intriguing story.
I will keep this explanation short. You will, no doubt, have encountered some person on your journey through life who talks and thinks only in very limited terms and frames of reference. There are those who expound the virtues of the free-market enterprise, believing in unrestricted and unregulated markets, and the freedom to make money in just about any way they can, despite the consequences. There are those who expound narrow religious dogma, believing that they, and only they and those who share their beliefs, are the sole source of the truth, being intolerant of those with different philosophies and beliefs. And there are those who operate in the realms of science, or engineering, or technology, who claim to think in terms of facts, or that which can be proven, and who would represent the world, and those who dwell in it, as nothing more that mechanistic artefacts, capable of being, ultimately, fully understood and explained (and also, perhaps, controlled, or even replaced).
Most of these people, regardless of their perspectives – be they economic, religious, or scientific – share one trait in common: they are ideological, although none of them would recognise this, they being too clever by half to fall into such a trap. And, being caught up in a way of thinking and viewing the world that they do not even recognise as ideological, they account for persons with different and opposing perspectives as suffering from some deficit, from a lack of right-mindedness. For all their apparent sophistication, and in some cases intelligence and education, many ideologically inclined people, through their thoughts and actions, would reduce the lives of us all to a living hell. These ideologues can be very dangerous people, yet you might not immediately think so, and what can be said about many such characters is that they are not wise, which brings me back to my tale of the wise man and what he told me, which I here recount for you.

~

“It was our prediction of the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter that first alerted us to the events that were eventually to unfold in Bethlehem,” the wise man stated, as though such prophecies were an everyday occurrence in his world.
“Let me introduce myself. I am Balthazar, and the we of which I speak are my fellow scholars, Melchior and Caspar.
“Perhaps you think that I am about to recall the long journey that we undertook, all those thousands of years ago, and that I am about to describe our encounter with that miraculous child; but do not worry for I have no intention of boring you with a tale which I am sure you know all too well.
“I see by the look on your face that your curiosity is aroused. How can this be? Have you encountered a lunatic? Balthazar is long dead. No-one is immortal.
“I would myself have agreed with you, long ago, when, in that far distant age, I first set off for Bethlehem. Let me explain, for this is at the heart of my story.
“Let us move forward, to the stage where we were about to depart from Bethlehem. Up to this point, you know my tale. It is what follows next that nobody is aware of, for it is a well-kept secret. Here I will clarify for you that Melchior and Caspar are both dead, for what occurred to me did not happen to them. So life took its course and they, like all men, passed out of the physical world, into the next, but how and when that took place I do not know, as you will soon understand.
“There we were, just leaving, and also aware that we could not go back the same way we had come, for there was immense evil afoot in the form of that corrupt and dangerous man called Herod. Of this you are fully aware from the telling of our story so many, many, times.
“So we discussed the matter and decided upon our course of action. Thinking that we might be followed by Herod’s agents, or waylaid by them in some remote and isolated place, we decided that it would be safer for the baby whom we were leaving behind if each of us to travelled separately, and to make our way back home by different routes. This would make following us more difficult, as Herod would not have considered this in his diabolical plans. But, of course, we knew that travelling alone would be more dangerous for us, but this was a risk we were willing to take, such was the importance of the child we had just visited.
“As we had come by a road from the east, and this was most probably where Herod’s men would hide and wait for us, we decided that Melchior would travel west, Caspar would go south, and I would journey north. Thus it was that we set off, going our separate ways, and I was never to see Melchior and Caspar again.
“My journey was, at first, uneventful. My plan was to keep moving northwards and then, after a few days, to turn in an easterly direction for a while, and then head south-east until I arrived back in my own lands. But my plans were thwarted, for, as I was soon to discover, my destiny lay elsewhere.
“Three days out from Bethlehem, I was passing through a very remote and uninhabited area. The landscape here was very undulating and it was not always possible to see what lay ahead, or behind for that matter. But the features of my surroundings provided me with the ability to travel without being observed.

“During the daylight hours I rested, ...

 

 

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