O God, who by the leading of a star didst manifest the only-begotten Son to the people of the earth: Lead us… Amen.
If you, like me, are accustomed to a less Liturgical faith tradition, you may not realize today, January 6th is known as The Epiphany, which commemorates the visit of the Magi to worship the Christ child.
The word epiphany derives from the Greek and means an experience of a sudden and striking realization.
In today’s culture epiphany may be used to describe a scientific, philosophical, religious, relational or intellectual realization. Psychologists, counselors, coaches and educators often refer to such dawning as an ‘ah-ha’ moment.
On Christmas Day my brother-in-law and I discussed Epiphany. As a result of our conversation, the following morning, I meditated upon the Matthew 2 biblical account of the Wise Men. My meditation led to three insights I’d never considered before. Those insights led me to ask probing questions.
- The wise men were well-educated scholars who didn’t simply collect information. They’d read about the birth of a king, but when they were convinced the time of that king’s birth was eminent, they departed their homeland, willing to go to great lengths to follow a ‘star of wonder.’ It is believed the distance of their trip to Bethlehem was around 800 miles—not an easy trek when you’re riding on the lumpy back of a big old camel!
- My Question: How willing am I to leave the comfort of ‘knowing’ and take that next step of faith to ‘do’ or ‘go?’
- The Wise Men worshipped with the belief, knowledge, and resources available to them. In addition to time and inconvenience, they gave of their wealth. Bowing low before the Christ child, they presented gold, frankincense and myrrh—gifts fit for a king.
Sometimes, what a person has to offer God seems impressive. Other times, it doesn’t seem like much. If you’ve ever attended a children’s Christmas pageant, you’ve probably seen an adorable child recite a poem penned in the 1800’s by Christina Rosetti.
My Gift –
What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a Wise Man
I would do my part,–
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.
- My Question: How much of my heart—the core of who I am—will I surrender as an act of worship? My schedule? My comfort? My convenience? My finances? My goals?
- Despite the wicked King Herod’s invitation to return to him with information about the baby’s whereabouts, the Wise Men were willing to ‘listen with their hearts’ and heed the ‘still, small voice’ of the Spirit given to them in a dream. Instead of reporting back to Herod, they chose a different route home.
- My Question: How receptive will I be to ‘listening with my heart’ even if the ‘still small voice’ instructs me to travel in a direction different than what I’ve presumed to be correct? What resources and wise advisors will help me avoid being misguided?
I’d love to hear insights you may have concerning The Epiphany…