THE GIFT OF GIVING
The story of the visit of the Magi is 2000 years old. It's so familiar that its impact gets lost.. The giving of alms and the religious and socl obligations of helping "the less fortunate" were well established, but charity was cold. The Travelers from the East changed that.
December nights in Palestine were chilly 2000 years ago. They still are. The desert sands and sunbaked rocks radiate the heat deposited by the sun during the day into the cloudless nights. Sometimes it snows in the hills. It's not the best time to travel, now or then, because of weather and the bad guys in the hills.
The word "Magi" is the collective for magus, a member of an ancient Persian priestly caste, literally a learned man. From it comes the word "magic" which means wondrous beyond explanation and the practitioner is a "magician." These mystical men came from the East by land over deserts and through mountains from Persia, through modern Iraq and Jordan, and into what is now Israel to a sleepy little town.
They came all that distance, braving many privations and dangers, to give gifts to a family they didn't know. And that family did not -- could not possibly -- know the visitors. Humble carpenters did not socialize with Persian potentates. On top of that, the visitors were Gentiles, uninvited guests in the land of the Chosen People, a nation oppressed and suspicious of strangers.
The gifts were unsolicited, a total surprise. The giving was one-way with no reciprocating exchange of presents.
Those gifts had no strings attached. True, the local king, Herod, tried gaining advantage from the visit, but the Wise Men isolated generosity from politics.
And when their good deed was done, they left town more quietly than they had arrived. There is no further mention of them in any history book and no indication that Mary and Joseph or their baby ever heard from them again.
Ancient Wisdom applied today
Freemasonry is not a religion. In fact, religious and political discussions are specifically banned as topics of conversation in all lodges. But lessons are learned from the great religions, and the Magi left a model to be followed.
Need should be sought out and help offered.
Differences of religion and race are not bars to charity, nor does distance deter kindness.
While it is easy to help a friend or neighbour, total strangers are equally deserving of our concern.
One of the Magi's most important lessons was that of doing good without fanfare and leaving quietly.
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V.W. Bro. Ted Morris
76 Ballacaine Drive, Etobicoke, ON, M8Y 4B7
If you want to chat, call Ted at (416) 232 - 9545 or (705) 448 - 2574