One word that sticks out above all others in my readings on the Adoration aka The Epiphany aka The Story of the Three Kings aka The Nativity whatever you prefer to call it, that word is - tradition.
‘Tradition’ ,as I see it, is a euphemism for:
[W]e know the story isn’t really true or ever actually hppened, as we have no proof and if you stress us we believe it’s a total fabrication but can’t say so too loudly as this may offend too many people.
The Adoration has several traditions developed from the story in Mathew's Gospel (Mat 2:1 ff)
For the detail see the Encyclopaedia Britannica on the Magi
Here are the ‘traditions’ I’ve noted…..:
- The Star of Bethlehem
For the detail see the Encyclopaedia Britannica on the Star of Bethlehem
- There Wise men
- Three Kings
- Symbolism (Hall’s Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art)
Gold – Homage to Christ’s kingship
Frankincense – homage ot Christ’s divinity
Myrrh - used in embalming foreshadowing Christ’s death
Submission of temporal power (earthly kings) to divine spiritual power (Christ the King of kings)
Gentiles – the wise men were the first non Jews to visit Christ
Three kings – three parts of the known world (Europe Asia and Africa)
It’s that last symbol I’ll consider in my next post.