“Somehow, not only for Christmas,
But all the long year through,
The joy that you give to others,
Is the joy that comes back to you.
And the more you spend in blessing,
The poor and lonely and sad,
The more of your heart’s possessing,
Returns to you glad.”
John Greenleaf Whittier~
One of my all time favorite Christmas stories is The Other Wise Man
by Henry Van Dyke
. I remember sitting in a family circle while my mom, tears in her eyes, read this timeless classic. A soul-touching Christmas tradition. The Other Wise Man
always makes me cry every time I read it.
“You know the story of the Three Wise Men of the East
, and how they travelled from far away to offer their gifts at the manger-cradle in Bethlehem. But have you ever heard the story of the Other Wise Man
, who also saw the star in its rising, and set out to follow it, yet did not arrive with his brethren in the presence of the young child Jesus? Of the great desire of this fourth pilgrim, and how it was denied, yet accomplished in the denial; of his many wanderings and the probations of his soul; of the long way of his seeking and the strange way of his finding the One whom he sought–I would tell the tale as I have heard fragments of it in the Hall of Dreams, in the palace of the Heart of Man.”
Van Dyke goes on to weave the beautiful story of Artaban, the fourth Wiseman
, and how he sacrifices his every cherished gift for the Christ child
in the service of mankind and, in doing so, ultimately for Christ
, The message is profound and badly needed in this world.~
“1895. American clergyman, educator, and author, Van Dyke explains the origins of the story of the Fourth Wise Man
as having arrived suddenly and without labor. One night he saw him distinctly, moving through the shadows in a little circle of light. His countenance was as clear as the memory of his father’s face. The narrative of his journeyings and trials and disappointments ran without a break. Even certain sentences came complete and unforgettable, clear-cut like a cameo. All that he had to do was to follow Artaban, step by step, as the tale went on, from the beginning to the end of his pilgrimage…”
***Fascinating how this story came to Van Dyke. No wonder it rings true and makes me think maybe there really was another wise man. The Magi have always intrigued me. I’d love to know more about them.