And what about the wisemen? Whom do they represent? I believe they represent Wisdom in spiritual matters. When the Christmas story was originally told, back in more ancient days, listeners would have known who these wisemen were. They were probably astrologers from somewhere like Babylon. I almost think that the wisemen were the ancient world’s equivalent of today’s nuclear physicists, except that they studied the “physics” of God. That is, they represent Understanding raised to the highest level. And when understanding reaches its summit, it leads in the same direction as the simple faith of the shepherds, i.e., straight to the Christ Child. So we have the faith of the shepherd boys, and the wisdom of wisemen bowing before the same manger.
And there are others. What about Joseph? In the earlier days the name of Joseph stood for “good counsel” and Joseph was a very important figure. In the Middle Ages people prayed to Joseph for help in straightening out their thinking in practical matters, and in giving clarity to their spiritual lives. This role of giving good counsel was assigned to Joseph because he was the one Jesus allowed to raise Him as a son, and to be His teacher & His guide into adulthood.
So now we have Faith, Wisdom, and Good Counsel. Next, we come to perfect and complete surrender, as it is given to us in Mary, the mother. It is said that Mary is purity personified. But it is a purity that comes from a very special kind of strength. It is no small thing to become so clean of self-will that there is nothing left but the indwelling will of God. This kind of surrender resides only in the very strong personality, because with surrender comes courage and dedication.