This year’s nativity bowl was inspired by a carving called Dream of the Magi, from The Cathedral of Saint Lazar, built in Autun, France between 1120-1132 and carved by the sculptor, Gislebertus.
The Magi were most likely Zoroastrian priests from Persia, now Iran, who watched the night skies for signs of the future. On the night of Jesus’s birth, a new star appeared. These wisemen from the East would have left soon after the appearance of the new star, traveling the 1000-1200 miles with three gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These gifts likely provided much needed financial security to enable the young family to escape the wrath of King Herod by fleeing to Egypt.
We know very little about these wisemen from the East. Artists and theologians have done their best to fill in the blanks, but most of it is speculation. I love the sculptor, Gislebertus’s whimsical depiction of these crowned men, being miraculously alerted by an angel and directed to follow the new star. Their journey of a thousand-plus miles would have been difficult and tedious, lasting perhaps as long as two years. I imagine the faith and fortitude required to put their trust in a star and ancient prophetic writings.
Two thousand years later, wise men and women still seek this same Jesus. The title of this year’s bowl comes from Paul’s epistle to the early saints of Ephesus. (Ephesians 5:14) “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” The Good News of Christ’s gospel truly does offer light, but we must choose it. We must wake up and get up, and move forward with faith and hope if we are to benefit from the beautiful blessings awaiting each of us.
The dimensions for this bowl are 9 1/2″-10″ by 2 1/2″- 3″ deep. It is dishwasher, microwave and oven-safe.