This is a picture of Gaspar. So, now I can imagine what he looks like. In my prayer life, I can thank God for this man. It is nice to have a picture to focus my spiritual journey for the season. In the biblical passage we have nothing about him. So, it is up to my imagination to think of who he was, what his relationship between the other two men, and what they talked about on their long journey . By the way, the other two are named Melchior and Balthazar.
Gaspar brought frankincense. This burning incense indicated that the baby was royalty. Maybe he was wanting to tell the world about Jesus’ life looking forward. We often make fun of the three Wise Men, and say that if it was three Wise Women that they would have brought practical things. Diapers, blankets and frozen casseroles would have been better. Gold frankincense and myrrh, really ?
The Wise Men including Gaspar have played a major role in the Christian tradition, They came from another religious tradition from the East. They were the first foreigners to honour the baby. They tricked Herod and the world to save the life of Jesus. They showed great courage and devotion. Recently, I found out that “it is said” that their bones are buried in the Dom Cathedral in Cologne Germany. You can go to see them, and remember their role in the Christmas Story.
So, all of these things, give me much to pray about moving through Advent. Our focus here at Poole is ” On the Road “. I will begin my journey with Gaspar and the Lord, thinking about the way that Gaspar rode or walked to arrive in Bethlehem.
Salaam and strength for our journey through Advent
” But, the angel told him, ‘ Do not be afraid Zechariah, for your prayer has been answered ‘ “. Luke 1:13
It seems that whenever an angel shows up in the biblical record, that people are afraid. Maybe at other times, the angels pronounce judgment. With Zechariah, Joseph and Mary the angel wants them to feel at ease with the angel’s message. None of them had an easy road. Joseph had to believe that the Holy Spirit got his girlfriend pregnant. Mary has to carry the Messiah, as an unwed mother. Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, had been barren ( no children ) for a long time. So all three of these people are told to not be afraid. This is because they are afraid.
On my early morning walks, there is a sign on a lawn that has been there since the beginning of the pandemic saying, ” We will all get through this. ” This is a fine sentiment of hope for the world, but it is not true. As the cases rise in Waterloo and Huron/Perth regions, more people are getting sick and in the hospital, and some are dying. It is very hard to not have any anxiety or fear in the pandemic and in our lives. Zechariah wondered who his son would become. His son , John the Baptist, lived a life on the edge, and he was beheaded by one of the Herods. Below see an artist’s picture of Zechariah and his son John.