By Christin Ditchfield
Over the years, they’ve come to be known as Gaspar, Melchoir, Balthasar – the Three Wise Men. Such beloved characters in the traditional Christmas story. Though they are mentioned only briefly in the gospel of Matthew, the Wise Men appear in nearly every nativity scene, every creche set. Somehow through the centuries, these mysterious figures have captured our imaginations and inspired us to “follow the star” on our own spiritual journey to Bethlehem.
Of course we don’t really know what their names were – or even that there were in fact three of them. We assume that there must have been at least three, because there were three gifts. However, if we read the gospel accounts of the Christmas story carefully, we soon discover that there actually were three wise people – three wise women!
Mary, Elizabeth, and Anna. Three very different women, in different ages and stages of life. One single, one married, one widowed. One just beginning to experience life. One coping with the challenges and changes of midlife. And one coming close to the end of her life. How do we know they were wise? The Scripture tells us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10) All three of these women “feared the Lord.” They were women who walked with Him. Women of faith and courage and character.
Each one played a crucial role in the events of the true Christmas story. Mary became the mother of the Messiah. She gave birth to the Son of God Himself. Elizabeth became the mother of His prophet. She served as Mary’s mentor and confidante. Anna announced the newborn King’s arrival. She sang His praises and proclaimed His salvation to all who had ears to hear. Too often we casually read over the familiar words of Scripture, barely noticing these women. Yet each one in her own way set a powerful example for us to follow today.
From The Three Wise Women: A Christmas Reflection by Christin Ditchfield.