"We three kings of Orient areMelchior cantered into the darkness, away from his camp, where his friends lay sleeping. It was early morning and by all appearances, still night. The cool morning air rushed past his face and the sound of the wind filled his ears, blocking all other sounds. He needed to be alone, to meditate and to pray. So, he drove his horse farther and faster into the desert. His mind was troubled and he felt better, comforted even, out in the wilderness, under the night sky, with nothing between him and God. His prayers felt stronger out here, without any obstacle, as they made their way to God's ears. So much had happened, since leaving his home, to follow the path of the star. He would return to Persia, a changed man spiritually, committed to living a new life, which reflected the joy that he had discovered in Bethlehem. Prior to starting his journey, he had complained that life as he knew it, had become stale, tedious and well, tiring. He wanted to electrify his life and in Bethlehem, he found the spark that ignited a raging bonfire in his heart, soul and mind. He kept thinking of His eyes. No matter how hard he tried to forget, he could not erase the image of the little child's eyes. As he reached the top of the hill's rise, he brought his mare, Magilia to a stop. Unconsciously, he rubbed her affectionately on her neck, twirling the fine, silky mane hairs around his fingers. Melchior loved his mare and he was grateful for her presence on this dark morning. Magilia was exquisite. Her beauty was outstanding and throughout this journey, Melchior had been on edge, as word of the mare's unrivaled beauty started to spread ahead of his caravan's path. He expected a raid at any moment by one of the horse-breeding desert tribes and Magilia would be the highly coveted prize. While making ready, Melchior had been undecided as to whether he would risk Magilia's safety on this journey and lose her forever. He couldn't bear the thought of life without her but he also couldn't bear a separation for any extended period of time. Finally, he decided that he must bring her. This was no ordinary trip and Melchior needed to depend on Magilia. Melchior had known her dam, who was revered for her exquisite beauty and also, for her red hot speed. Many successful race horses were produced from this family of horses. Melchior had bargained with Magilia's breeder, a Bedouin Shaikh, who was like a brother to him. On a long ago night, the Shaikh had been bitten by a sand viper and Melchior, with his powerful understanding of alchemy, had saved the Shaikh from the jaws of death. Their relationship had grown stronger since then. The Shaikh had bred Magilia to be an important part of his stud and had planned to keep her but finally, Melchior's offer of one hundred and fifty camels, a promising stud colt, fifty donkeys, two hundred and fifty ewes, three renowned sight hounds and two hundred and fifty sacks of jasmine rice proved too irresistible for the Shaikh. He thought of this, all the while he stood in the same spot, twirling Magilia's mane round and round his finger. Anything to distract him from all the thoughts which filled his mind and his heart. From out of nowhere, a woman's voice whispered into his ears. "Why do you doubt all that you have seen?" she asked and continued, "He is whom the prophecy has foretold." He placed his hand on Magilia's neck and turned in the saddle to face the woman but no one was there. He looked to his left and to his right but no one was there. "Who is out there? Who has just spoken?" he asked. "show yourself!"
Bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star..."-from the lyrics of the song, We Three Kings, written by Rev. John Henry Hopkins
All was silent.
And then, from nowhere, the voice returned to say, "Melchior, it is I, your horse, Magilia, who speaks with you."
"Melchior, I have been your companion on this journey to follow the star which your people have been studying for an awful long time. You know the prophecy well and have spent your life, studying and preparing for the moment that the star would reveal the glory of God to you. Yet, you have become trapped by the 'science of the study' and somehow, the simple message has become lost for you, despite witnessing His glory. Why? He is who He said He is. You have been blessed with an opportunity to see the glory first hand. Embrace it, as soon, the glory of God will become a very important part of who you are."
Melchior was stunned. He looked at Magilia. His beautiful mare, so exquisite in her beauty was not only speaking to him but she spoke with a wisdom one would never expect from a horse. She turned her head to the left, to face Melchior, aware of the thought in his mind. He couldn't think, he couldn't speak, he couldn't fathom what was happening to him now. All Melchior could do, in this moment, was to pray...in thanksgiving.
God had blessed him, profoundly.
And the gift was underscored in Magilia! He thought for a long time. He thought of the visit with the child and also, with His Mother, who appeared initially concerned and skeptical over the Magi visit. "Men from the east? Magi? Who has sent you and what do you want with my son?" she demanded of them. She was sure that King Herod was behind all of this and had sent his henchmen to hurt her son, possibly even kill Him. Melchior assured her that his group, his caravan, meant her son no harm. He explained the star prophecy and of their desire to meet and worship the little King, whose coming had been foretold for ages in his country. Once again, he thought of the child and of his private visit with Him. And he thought of the miracle that he personally witnessed. Melchior couldn't understand how it was possible that the baby could change his physical appearance into that of a middle-aged man, right before his eyes. He also detected a bit of sadness which resided deeply in His eyes. As if there was a great tragedy that only the Child knew about. He was lost in his thoughts and had not noticed the growing brightness which illuminated the spot where he stood. Suddenly, a thousand voices broke out in song, with voices so beautiful, so melodious, like nothing he had ever heard before. Melchior was startled. He suddenly found himself looking deeply into the eyes of the child and his mind heard the words that the child said to him, "do not be troubled Melchior, for everything is as you have seen and heard, all for the glory of God. Your faith will now direct you, to where you need to go. Prepare the way for my coming. Go now and tell others all that you have seen and spread my glory far and wide, bringing joy to all who will listen." Melchior cried deeply with a joy so enormous, that he felt he would explode. With a new perspective, he thought of all that he experienced over the last few days and understood the message that God was sending to him. We are all connected to each other, through the glorious love of God. And, personally, it was so simple to understand that Melchior almost had missed the message. For that, he thanked Magilia, who was as beautiful inside, as she was on the outside. Yes, he would return to Persia a changed man, to testify to the glory of God's love, all for the love of a horse.
I must give credit to Ann Hatchett-Sprague for her most wonderful painting, Nejd Lady. I love it and when I first saw this beautiful Nejdi, I couldn't think of a more perfect "Magi-lia."