Here’s the latest from the crossroads of faith, media & culture: 10/12/22
Wise words. In my third conversation with EWTN host, Fox News contributor and prolific author (whose works include The Spider Who Saved Christmas and The Thief Who Stole Heaven) Raymond Arroyo, talks about The Wise Men Who Found Christmas, his latest book that he describes as a family-friendly adventure that reveals the little-known true story of the Magi’s epic journey to find the Christ Child. Our conversation follows the book trailer below.
JWK: So, tell me about The Wise Men Who Found Christmas.
Raymond Arroyo: Well, I’ll tell you how it started. Years ago I did a book called The Spider Who Saved Christmas…I was looking for another book to do – something that was, you know, near the Christmas season – and I thought of the Wise Men that frankly, John, I knew very little about – aside from the popular notions that I think we all have and the famous song We Three Kings of Orient Are.
It turns out that song is for the most part wrong, When you look at the historical, the biblical (and) the archeological records, that song just doesn’t add up. There were probably more than three of them, they were not kings and they were definitely not from the Far East. That much we know.
So, I needed to fill in the gaps of who these people were and why they were pursuing this Christ Child – and (with) the answers I found I thought I could write a book about this and present it as sort of dry research (but) others have done it far better. They’ve already done books and research into the Wise Men, their history and different aspects of their lineage. I thought this is such a great adventure story when you put in the historical context. So, that’s what I did. I turned it into a family adventure that families can read together at Christmas time.
I think it opens up and enriches your Christmas season but I hope The Wise Men Who Found Christmas also opens everyone’s eyes to the historic reality of who these Magi were and what that means in our own lives. When you put them in the proper historical context and you understand the biblical roots of this story, you suddenly realize why the Wise Men are among the most popular and beloved characters of Christmas and that was part of what I wanted to do here as well.
JWK: You say there weren’t three of them?
RA: Well, there might have been many more. If you look at ancient Coptic manuscripts from early first century (and) second century, they claim there were 60 Wise Men. The Syrian and Armenian texts, they say there were 12 Wise Men. The Gospel itself – which, you know, we kind of say it every year and almost ignore it – only refers to “three gifts” not “three Wise Men.” We don’t how how many Wise Men there were. The Gospel is silent on the number of Magi that actually came. So, in my telling on the first page of the book, there are 12 on a rooftop in the…Kingdom of Nabatea which is present-day Petra. I like the idea that there were probably more than three and 12 seems the right number when you consult some of the historical records.
JWK: 12 would seem to have a sort of poetic connection to the Apostles.
JWK: So, you say this is an adventure story. I guess some of that comes in their encounter with Herod.
JWK: So, obviously, you fill in some of the gaps with your imagination but, overall, the story conforms with what we know.
JWK: What do you hope readers take from this story?
JWK: The story would seem to have all the elements of some kind of Big Screen movie. Any thoughts on that?
JWK: So, they didn’t understand, necessarily, where they were going to begin with?
JWK: Did they understand that they were going to see the Son of God?
John W. Kennedy is a writer, producer and media development consultant specializing in television and movie projects that uphold positive timeless values, including trust in God.
Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11