Today, is officially the start of the Christmas season for me. I am not sure why it did not start until today, but today I realized that it is only about three weeks until Christmas. I came home from work today and Anya ambushed me with her request for books. The school is ordering the monthly Scholastic books and she wants some for Christmas. I am looking at the order forms, and surprise, there is not one book that is about the true meaning of Christmas.
I think it is time to break out some of my favorite Christmas stories. I think that I am going to go get one of my favorite books called "The Other Wise Man", and read it to the girls.
This is the story of a man named, Artaban. He is a seeker of Truth. He is supposed to be the other wiseman (or the fourth wiseman) who sought the Savior foretold in ancient scripture. He recognized the sign for the Savior's birth when he saw the Star of Bethlehem. He was delayed on his way to meet the other three wisemen. When he arrived at the meeting place, he discovered that they had left without him. He set out on his own to find the Savior and present his gifts to the little king.
Artaban, came upon a town where Roman guards were taking and killing the small children. He heard a muffled cry from one of the houses, entered and found a woman crying and clutching her baby tightly to her breast. A Roman soldier came and tried to enter the home, but Artaban paid him to leave the child alone by giving the soldier the ruby he had been saving for the Savior. He saved the child's life. He took comfort in knowing he still had other gifts to give the newborn king.
The rest of the story goes on to tell of Artaban's travels, and how he found more people to help, each time sacrificing one of his precious gifts for the Savior. At the end of his life, he arrives in Jerusalem on the same day when Jesus was to be crucified. He did not know that Jesus was the King whom he had been seeking for so long.
At one point, Artaban heard a disturbance behind him. He turned to see a soldier trying to take a young girl from her parents. Artaban discovered that the girl had been sold as a slave to pay her parents' debts. Artaban, with his last jewel, paid the debt the parents owed and the girl was freed.
At that moment, the Savior died and there was an earthquake. A wall fall on Artaban before he could flee. As he lay dying, he was so sad because he had never been able to find the king and give him his gifts. Right before he passed away, he heard a voice saying "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
In all the ways that mattered, as he served and loved others, Artaban, had indeed, found his Savior and King.
Today, I am reminded of Artaban and his love and kindness, and his journey through life. I know that my own life is a journey much like Artaban's. It is a journey to find my Savior and my King.
I don't have worldly jewels, but I do have things in my life that I want to give up so that I can be more like Him. I have virtues that I want to strengthen and grow. I am hoping to find my Savior this year as I work on being more kind and loving to my family. I want to speak softly and lovingly in all I do and say. I want to control my temper and my tongue.
This year I am reminded of the importance in seeking truth wherever we find it. The story of Artaban, helps me to remember that I can live my own story of Christmas. Although I might never see the Savior in this life, I can still serve Him and help Him and show my love for Him, by taking care of others and truly loving them. May you each find a gift inside yourself to give to the Savior this Christmas Season.