"Was There Another Wise Man?"
(The story of Artaban - fact or fiction?)
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Now to our amazing story for this week!
Another Wise Man - fact of fiction?
       We have all heard the story of the Wise Men that followed the star to find the Christ Child  
so that they could worship him. 
     But did you know there is a story told that there was one other Wise Man? His name was Artaban, and he also saw the star. In fact, as the story is told, Artaban had been waiting and watching for this star most all of his life - the star that was prophesied would come and announce the coming of the Messiah.
   When Artaban did see the star, he sold all his worldly possessions, and bought three precious jewels - a Sapphire, a Ruby, and a Pearl. He would find this Christ Child and lay these precious jewels at his feet.
    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 
my brethren, 
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:
    As you search for Christmas, 
let it begin with the worship of this Christ Child. 
But don't stop there. Don't stop your search until it takes you 
to the foot of the cross. 
That's where you'll find the real meaning of Christmas.

 Questions for the Quiz

Hint - click HERE
to go to the stories containing the answers

1. It's not a tree or a bush - it's a parasite. But at Christmas, people love it! What is this parasite that people love at Christmas?

2. Who is Clement Moore and what is his connection to Christmas?

3. When did Christmas become a national holiday in America and who was the U.S. President that signed the law?

4. How did we ever get started using an "X" instead of "Christ" in Christmas?

5. Who invented the first Christmas lights and how were they invented? 

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Merry Christmas from Jerry and Kelly Stewart!    

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