It must have looked like a procession of kings as Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar and their entourage headed North. Each one listening to the other’s story, Balthazar paying close attention so that when he came to explain his experience of the heavenly light drawing him from his home, he was able to use similar words and imagery to back up his motives. ‘And so my friends’, he concluded, ‘on this my final journey I am honoured to travel with men of such obvious wisdom and nobility’. His words pleased the others so much so that a subtle shift was taking place within the group, with Balthazar the Merchant assuming the senior leadership role. Neither Caspar nor Melchior had ever been this far west before. They were already finding everything strange and different, they were unsure who to trust and how to haggle for food and shelter. Balthazar, however, was in his element amongst such chaos, cutting deals, getting bargains, searching out bits of gossip that would be helpful to their mission.
Lucifer smiled within himself; it was a small victory but an important one. ‘The hearts of the Sons of Adam are so easily distracted’, he mused to himself, as he watched the entourage heading North. Of course he had failed to prevent the blasphemy of God coming among such filth, already he could hear in his mind the screams of a new found birth. He shuddered, he had limited weapons to fight Almighty God, but he knew of old that one small seed of doubt, one simple distraction, could even thwart the will of God. How foolish was He who had created those heavens that Lucifer still craved for, that He would surrender His power and majesty to the weak will of the sons and daughters of Adam.
Gabriel was watching too, his heart breaking to see the change in focus among the weary travellers. Already the holy light of heaven was beginning to dim, but it is ever the way of human hearts to take even the exceptional for granted. He knew that many sons of Adam had already grown weary of the strong penetrating light, claiming it was disturbing their sleep. He remembered a similar reaction among the children of Israel when God’s pillar of light went before (and after) them as they left Egypt all those centuries before. At first there had been comfort and hope to be found in the constant presence of the heaven-sent pillar. Everything was so new, so different to what their lives had been under Pharaoh that having that daily reminder that they were never alone, had sustained them with hope; but all too soon the grumbling had started, muttering and exasperation that Moses was being obsessive about following that pillar of light so slavishly, surely there were better, safer roads to the promised land. Gabriel sighed at the memory, and at history once again repeating itself. He knew the length and depth and width of the Love of almighty God, but surely even He must sometimes wonder at the fickle nature of the hearts and minds of these sons of Adam.
All of heaven watched with heavy hearts as Uriel wrapped his angelic cloak around the ‘smile of God’. Such had been the intensity of the heavenly blaze that it took some hours for the sons of Adam below to notice the light first dim then disappear. Caspar and Melchior cried out in alarm when the ‘star’ suddenly was no more. They had been paying less and less attention to its beam of late, so busy were their minds with the talk of their fellow traveller. Balthazar, ever adaptable, quicky rose to assure his friends. ‘Fear not my fellow pilgrims! Surely we already know the destination to which this star was leading us. There is no mightier king in this area than Herod the Great, wait till you see the vastness of his palaces. Surely this heaven sent star has been leading us to Jerusalem, to the palace of the king. Surely even now a new and mighty king in being born to him’. And so they continued, Balthazar’s words made sense, but there was now a sense of loss among their company, they missed the light that they had grown familiar with.