Hope Alight 2023

It was so fun to celebrate the Christmas season with everyone at Hope Alight this year! If you're looking to relive the fun and laughter at home this Christmas the story, "The Adoration of the Magi," and the setlist are below. Merry Christmas!

The Adoration of the Magi

The eldest king spread his hands, his indigo robe catching the soft morning light. “It’s what my father would have given, if it had happened in his day. Gold for crowns, for prosperity, for the coins that will one day bear his image. It’s the only gift right for a king!”

“Gold? Dear Caspar!” exclaimed Melchior. “If the Romans hear about it, Israel will need more than a new king: they’ll need divine intervention! Or at least a priest, to go to their God for them.”

“Now I see why you want to bring incense!” Caspar chuckled. “You really can’t see how that would be condescending?” 

Melchior ignored him. “Here’s the other problem with gold: We’re going to visit a new king. Probably in a great palace of some kind. The last thing anyone is going to need is more gold! But these are deeply religious people, and their new king has been announced by the divine alignment of stars and planets! It’s a culturally sensitive show of support during a very spiritual time!”

Caspar shook his head. “Israel hasn’t been led by a priest for a thousand years! There’s nothing culturally sensitive about suggesting they go back to that!”

Melchior appealed to the third man in their meeting. “Balthazar, talk some sense into him! Frankincense is the perfect gift!!”

The youngest king, Balthazar, looked from one man to the other. “You have both made many excellent points. But I’m going to bring myrrh.”

Forgetting their argument, the two older kings turned their critique on Balthazar. 

“We’re trying to honour the king at his BIRTH,” Caspar stressed. “Not his funeral.”

“A lovely perfume,” Melchior added. “But it sends the wrong message. They might think we’re implying some dark future for the boy.”

Balthazar laughed. “My dear brothers! It’s a very pleasant wish! I hope his rule is long, and that when he dies he will be anointed and mourned very well. Surely it is a blessing to be mourned by an adoring people when you are gone.”

“It’s dark is what it is,” Caspar grumbled. “The poor mother. She shouldn’t have to think about her young son passing away someday. At least, not for a long time. Your gift is too heavy for a boy, king or no.”

Balthazar spoke once more. “Gold and frankincense are no better. Kingship and priesthood are not without their own weight.”

Melchior looked at Caspar. Caspar stroked his beard in thought. “What do you suggest, young Balthazar?”

“We have all read the stars,” he replied. “Let each of us bring the present which seems best to him. And may the God of Israel make His new king strong for the weight of our gifts.”

The older men nodded their approval; and with that, they set off to follow the star of the new king.

After many long weeks of travel, they arrived in Bethlehem. In the evening, the star appeared again, and rested over the place where the new king was. 

The last light of the sun was already fading as they made their way behind an inn. “I thought the town seemed humble, but can this really be the residence of a king?” Balthazar wondered aloud. “Has there been a mistake?”

“The cosmos cannot lie,” Caspar said. But as they approached the stable, and heard the bleating and lowing of farm animals, even he seemed unsure. Melchior stepped forward, ducking under a low eave, and announced their presence at the entrance. A gentle voice invited them in.

Crowding through the open entryway, the three kings beheld a simply-dressed Israelite man and his wife. A few candles struggled against the deepening dark of nightfall. By their flickering light, the visitors could see piles of straw, rough fences, worn water troughs—and there, among the animals, a small figure, dozing in his mother’s arms: the king of the star. The little star-king yawned.

“I do regret having brought myrrh after all,” Balthazar thought. “For my part I hope that my gift never needs to be opened, and that the little king lives forever!”

Caspar felt the weight of the gold in his hands, and his heart began to sink. The God of Israel had chosen such a humble place to send His king. Gold suddenly felt out of place. And yet the stars themselves had aligned to declare his birth. Gold was too much, and too little. He glanced over at Melchior.

But Melchior was feeling the very same thing. The heavens had touched the earth. And yet here they were, surrounded by cattle. Incense! God was here, and the sacred aroma would only highlight how imperfect, how unholy this place was! For a long moment, he couldn’t lift his gaze.

Balthazar looked at his fellow kings. He looked around at their humble surroundings. He remembered the bright star that meant a divine king was here. He thought about the darkness of his beautiful perfume. They had come all this way to bring gifts to the new king. Had their journey been in vain?

Even as the men looked to one other for reassurance, they knew the answer. Their gifts were not enough. And at this realization, they began to well up with a strange and powerful grief.

Outside, a breath of wind scattered a cloud, and the pale glow of starlight faintly illuminated the room. The three travelers paused to consider what this could mean. And they remembered. The holy star was above them even now. Yes. That was right. They had seen the sign of the king, and they had come all this way to worship him. 

And because they were wise men, they understood. The celestial invitation was not for gold, frankincense, and myrrh. It was for Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar.

The three wise men held forth their imperfect offerings. As they did so, first Caspar, then Melchior, and finally Balthazar, knelt before the new king. And their heavy gifts seemed to grow lighter and lighter, until all the weight was completely gone.

SETLIST

Silent Night
Feliz Navidad