As Artaban began his journey, he discovered that others were also following the star - so he set out to meet up with them.
But, along the way he came upon a sick traveler. He needed to continue his search, but, instead, he stopped and cared for the sick man. Because of this delay, when he finally arrived to meet the others following the star, they were already gone.
So, according to the story, Artaban continued his search, following the star alone. And he traveled for years, following the star, until, finally, he reached Bethlehem. But, once again, he was too late - he saw neither the Wise Men nor the Christ Child. Grieved and greatly disappointed, this single Wise Man began a life long search for the King of Kings. But, over the years, as he searched, he continued to encounter the sick, the poor, and the needy. And, as he helped each of them, he was forced, one by one, to sell his precious jewels, until, finally, as an old man, he too became a pauper.
Then, one day, at last, Artaban arrived in Jerusalem, expecting to find the now adult Christ Child, and he does - He finds Jesus on the Hill of Golgotha - hanging from a cruel cross. As Jesus hung there, suspended between Heaven and Earth, dying, a great earthquake strikes the city. And this old and ailing Wise Man is gravely injured.
As the injured old man, Artaban, lies at the foot of the cross, dying, finally, at his Master's feet, it grieves him deeply that he now has nothing to give Jesus - his search, his life, was a failure. Long ago he had set on a quest to find the Christ Child and lay precious jewels at His feet. And here, now, as he lay dying, he thinks, "All of this time - all of my life - all of my searching - and now, I have nothing to give Jesus".
But, then, as Artaban took his final breath of life, a gentle Voice comes to his ears.
"In as much as you have done it
unto one of the least of these
you have done it unto Me".
Yes, Artaban's search had begun by following a star to a tiny stable in Bethlehem, in hopes of seeing and worshiping a small babe lying in a manger. Then, he continued his search, spending a lifetime giving away his money, his dreams, and his very life. Now here he was, his search had ended - at the foot of the cross.
This story, fact or fiction, gives us a powerful message for this very special Season. It is this: