Skip to content Skip to footer


walking Baghdad
resting camel
Herod the Great
Photo by Birmingham Museums Trust on Unsplash
Balthasar’s imaginary Blog

Day 1
It’s late and cold on the roof yet here I am. The moon is full and its light hides most of the stars, yet in the west, I can clearly see a new star. It must be incredibly bright to be visible right now – and it just appeared out of nowhere – no warning. It’s not shooting across and disappearing in a ball of flame so it can’t be a meteor so what is it? I must talk to Caspar and Melchior about it. This is big – it must be a sign. What should I do about it? Read more
Second entry
Caspar and Melchior have come over and we’re discussing this new star trying to make sense of it. It is shining in the west over the land of Belteshazzar (Daniel’s Babylonian name) — my servant’s family is descended from the Jewish exiles perhaps he can give some wisdom. Melchior thinks it must be a new king sent by god – I think he’s right. Caspar is excited quote “Only a God could have put it there and what else would be more important than declaring a new king” unquote. We really need to check this out; a star of this magnitude. Melichior is packing his bags already to make the trip to see what has happened. Caspar says we should all go. My servant Daoud say that his people are awaiting for a “messiah”, could this be a sign of his coming?Read more
Third entry
The three of us are ready to set out. Horses, food and tents though I hope we find decent inns and be able to rest in comfort on this trip. We will need to careful as we have costly gifts with us for the king and we will be heading into Roman territory. The Romans get touchy about kings unless they control them. I doubt that this king will be under the Roman thumb, Roman’s can’t put stars in the sky. It is told how Belteshazzar’s god allowed him to walk unscathed among hungry lions so what is a few bandits or Roman soldiers. Read More
Fourth entry
To keep an eye on the star we will need to mainly travel at night that will be slow and risky. As we set off I’m struck how easy it is to stumble and fall in the dark. Fortunately, the star’s light guides us otherwise; we would be lost and stumbling.
Traveling by night, I wonder about what it would be like to dwell in darkness the difficulty to get anything done properly. Daoud my servant is in a philosophical frame of mind and recites a quote “the people who dwell in darkness have seen a great light” apparently it is from one of his prophets a man called Isaiah. Well we have darkness and starlight – he says Isaiah was talking about a child to be born. A messiah who would be king and do great things. Our records talk of the Jewish god being powerful able to work wonders; Melchior is convinced that we are going to see more than a king, A bright light; having stubbed my toe again in the dark, I want a bright light to see where I’m going. Is this what the child is going to be – a light to stop us getting lost in the dark world?
Read More
Fifth entry
Today we rested Caspar is not a young man anymore and the cares of this life have aged him. He finds it hard traveling in the dark. We would offer to lead his horse so he could just ride but I don’t want to injure his pride. However, Caspar is no fool he knew at his age the trip would be hard yet he was eager to make it. I will talk to him, pride shouldn’t stop him seeing this child but I will be careful. Often pride can keep us from what is good. Read More
Sixth Entry
We continue on with sore feet not knowing how far we still have to go. The star is still bright and leading us. Still there in the west. Funny we know the direction to go but not how far. Life is like that if we’re honest we know what we should do but not if we can keep it up. Just take it one step at a time, as Caspar says keep on keeping on. We must see this child and keep on the right road.
Read more
Seventh Entry
It looks more and more like we’re heading towards Israel the land of Belteshazzar and the God who protected him in the lion’s den. Who is this God who acts so powerfully and who is this child he is sending? Isaiah paints a picture of just ruler, a good government and a servant king. It is all very strange, what awaits us?
Melchior been thinking – I think he is right, again, if we’re going to Israel then logically a king must be in Jerusalem the capital. We are planning to go to the palace, ask for an audience with the king, to see the child. Knowing where to go we can push on during the day. It cannot be far now. Read More
Eight Entry
Well I did not see that one coming, king Herod didn’t know about the child! What’s going on‽
Well not all kings are clued in but he does have advisors who know their stuff. Apparently there is a text in another of their prophets “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.”’ Herod’s wise men says we should head for Bethlehem. It is only 8K away. It should be easy enough to check it out. Apparently, Bethlehem is a small town so we should not be too hard to find a king but we decide to stick with the star this time. Before we left Herod gave us instructions to come back and tell him where the child is: he says he wants to worship him too. Caspar doesn’t like him; he seems a bit shifty. Why hasn’t his people gone to see him, it’s only 8 km could be there and back in a morning. Not clued in and lazy, odd but par for a Roman puppet.
What a night, very vivid dreams we all had them and all the same dream. The same message — avoid Herod like the plague do not go back to him! Asking around we hear that Herod is a nasty piece of work, a tyrant. A crown doesn’t make a man a good ruler. Jerusalem is definitely not on the return itinerary. Herod does not sound anything like the description of the king in Isaiah or in Daoud’s traditions. Read More
Last Entry
We’ve found him and worshipped him. His mother was taken aback when we arrived and you could see the neighbour’s curtains twitching. Everything is upside down, the neighbours must be wondering about us posh guys slumming it with the peasants. His father is a carpenter, at first sight nothing out of the ordinary except for the star and the promises. We worshipped him and gave our gifts. This child is nothing like Herod the Roman puppet. What will he be and what will he do? His father has also had a dream warning him to seek refuge in Egypt – the more we hear about Herod the wiser it seems to leave until everything settles down. They say Herod is so intent of staying in power it is better to be one of Herod’s pigs than one of his sons – you’ll live longer. I wish we hadn’t gone to see him and alerted him to this child.

Still, what’s important is we have seen God’s king, God is at work in our world and is here. We are at peace; we can go home now. There are great things afoot in our world and one day this child will be a man and rule. What wonders await! Read More

What was going on?

We all know that over two thousand years ago a child was born. His birth was accompanied by signs: some believed,  some didn’t but the world has not been the same since.  The Gospel of Matthew tells of the wise men who came to visit the child but it is sparse on the details.  Giving me the freedom to imagine “their” blog.  We only think there were three wise men because there were three gifts.  Tradition calls them: Balthasar, Caspar and Melchior.  We know they came from the East following a star — maybe coming from Babylone where Jews were exiled (i.e. pre-knowledge about the Messiah) or some suggestions of them coming along the spice road.  Again we are frustrated in knowing the details as they come and go in the space of twelve verses Matthew 2:1-12
There are theories about the star c.f. other descriptions available via google.  In the end it seems that what is important is not the bystanders but the child who receives highly symbolic gifts: gold for a king, frankincense for a priest and myrrh for suffering.  Jesus Christ the child born in poverty, in occupied territories who would be later executed by the Romans at the beck and call of the mob is king, high priest and saviour of mankind.  

If you want to know more about please use the form below to get in touch or come to our Christmas events and talk to us.

What’s on SALU Christmas 2022

Christmas Eve Carol Singing Saturday 24th December from 5 pm, followed by an informal meeting in Urquhart Parish Hall at 5:30 with mulled wine & mince pies, carol singing and a short reflection

Christmas Day Service Sunday 25th December at 10 am in the church

A Christmas Message from Our Minister

The Gospel of Matthew has the most boring start to the story of Christmas of all the gospels. He starts with a genealogy, all the way back from Abraham, until he gets to Jesus himself. Boring stuff, to say the least! But then I realise that he includes a few characters that any family might have preferred not to uncover: Rahab, the prostitute, who helped the Israelite spies to escape from Jericho. Ruth, a Moabite woman. Bathsheba, indicated as “the wife of Uriah”, reminding us of David’s sordid affair that led to him having Uriah killed to hide his sin.

And then it hits you: Jesus includes us all in his family. We are all children of God and brothers and sisters of our Lord. No one is too unsavoury to be included. All are loved beyond measure. This, above all, is the message of Christmas!

Contact Us