Matthew 2:11

And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Cyrus and Baraz shook Darien awake as the moon climbed high in the sky. The man eased his eyes open, the way a stag might ease out from a pool of water. He tumbled into wakefulness just in time to see their things piled next to the donkey, a man in woolen robes holding the leather straps of the two camels, and then leading them away.

“I just have to wonder if it was a good trade.” Darien muses from the ground the next morning as his companions strap the bags to the sides of the donkey.

“It was fair,” Baraz smiles, and passes a jar to Cyrus who hands it to Darien, along with a small box he pull from his own robes.

“The child will know He is as cherished as He is promised.”

“He will.” Cyrus smiles, and pulls his friend up by the hand before clapping him on the shoulder.

“You aren’t sore about losing the camel?” Baraz calls from the other side of the donkey.

“Did we not need gifts fit for a king?” Darien laughs and scoops the containers from the ground, handing them back to his friends and patting his hip where the gold is tied beneath his robe.

Before the sun fully rises over the tents and houses, the three blaze a trail through the desert, following the star that shines opposite the sun.

Cyrus stops to tighten the straps on his worn sandals.

Darien stops to hand his friends a chunk of bread from his satchel.

Baraz stops to wash his face in a stream.

The sun hangs low, threatening to blot out the light of the star they follow.

That is when they see it. The gate. The wall nearly black in the setting sun. The star which hasn’t moved in hours.

Their feet are blistered and dirty. Their backs are sore, shoulders tight, but their weary eyes are bright as the star settles above a house in the midst of the city.

They hold their breaths as they rap on the door.

They stammer when a young woman pulls it open, then fall to their knees as a tiny, smiling face peeks from around her dress.

“Immanuel,” Cyrus breathes.