Continuing this “God is with Who?” series for Christmas, today we’re looking at the Magi and what their presence in the Xmas story means.

music is from storyblocks

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If you prefer reading, below is the script I used for this video. It’s not word for word, but it’s close enough.

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                      Hi neighbor. My name's Nathaniel and

                      welcome to Reluctant Sermonizing. This

                      is the second video in our Christmas

                      series. In the Bible the baby Jesus

                      was refered to as Immanuel which

                      means, God with us. So our series is

                      called: God with who? If you missed

                      the first video, I'll put the playlist

                      at the end, and be sure to subscribe

                      if you haven't already.

                      Alright. Shall we?

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                      So, the wisemen. The Christmas story

                      goes that a while after Mary pushed

                      out the baby Jesus. And after the

                      shepherds came and left that we talked

                      about last week. Some wisemen (or

                      magi) then showed up and paid homage

                      to this baby as King of the Jews. Then

                      they got out their air mattresses,

                      spent the night, and a crazy dream

                      that ties into some political intrigue

                      that we'll touch on in a couple weeks.

                      But the main point to telling you this

                      story is very simple: These are magi.

                      Magi participating in this divine

                      story. And magi are priests. They're

                      not Jewish priests. They're not

                      Christian priests. Christianity didn't

                      exist yet. These are Zoroastrian


                      Zoroastrianism is an ancient religion

                      that's still practiced by some today.

                      Freddie Mercury the lead singer for

                      the band Queen was a Zoroastrian. In

                      fact Queen has a song called "Jesus"

                      that ties into the story. 

                      But back to the magi/priests, they

                      leave. They don't convert. They don't

                      become disciples. They don't ask Jesus

                      into their hearts. They go back East

                      and continue as Zoroastrians.

                      Ok, now, forgive me for my

                      pronounciations: gulaab ka phool

                      (Hindi), mawar (Indonesian), reste sig

                      (Swedish), jangmi (Korean), kufufuka

                      (Swahili), troyanda (Ukrainian), rose


                      In one of Shakespeare's most famous

                      works, Romeo and Juliet, Juliet is

                      pining for a boy who's part of an

                      enemy family. Shakespeare never says

                      why they're enemies, but if you're

                      familiar with the politics of

                      Shakespeare's time, it's not unlikely

                      that the fight is over religion. So

                      Juliet in her yearning says, 

                      "What's in a name? that which we call

                      a rose	

                      By any other name would smell as


                      She understands that a name is just a

                      description of a reality that it

                      labels. Let me say that again. A name

                      is just a description of a reality

                      that it labels.

                      Do you see where I'm going with this?

                      If one holds that there is a God, a

                      universal God, a living divinity,

                      wouldn't it make sense that others in

                      other parts of the world would run

                      into this God, this spirit, this rose

                      and describe it in some way that made

                      sense to them?

                      gulaab ka phool (Hindi), mawar

                      (Indonesian), reste sig (Swedish),

                      jangmi (Korean), kufufuka (Swahili),

                      troyanda (Ukrainian).

                      I'm not saying all religions have it

                      all correct. The stories we tell

                      matter. That's why I'm spending so

                      much time critiquing Christian stories

                      and interpretation because I don't

                      think Christianity has it all correct. 

                      But that's not a dismissal of these

                      stories. No, it's an invitation to

                      take these descriptions of what people

                      saw and experienced and created even

                      more seriously. Because they're not

                      just some tool of tribal, cultural, or

                      spiritual warfare. Though some people

                      use them that way.

                      No. These names try to describe

                      something real that we humans have

                      been attempting to put words to for

                      thousands of years from every corner

                      of the globe and beyond. 

                      That's not dismissing. That's seeking

                      evidence. That's finding that there

                      might be something real like divinity.

                      That there might be: god. with. us.

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                      Hey, thanks for watching. There is the

                      playlist to the rest of this God with

                      Who? series, or at least as far as

                      we've gotten. And be sure to hit

                      subscribe. Next week we're talking the

                      hot mess that is Mother Mary's story.

                      See ya then.
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