Feast of the Epiphany
“Falling to their knees they did Him homage. Then, opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. “Matthew 2:12
We have now crossed the threshold of the old year into the new calendar year. We stand firmly now on this side of 2020. 2019 was yet another part of the unfolding story of our life. Let us commit the past to the Lord, live with Him now in the present and entrust ourselves to Him for the future.
As we begin our new year, we are reminded again of the visit of the Magi the three kings or wise men from the east who came following the star to the place where the new-born Infant Christ was laid. They came seeking Him whose birth had been foretold by the prophets and which the heavens had proclaimed in the birth of a new star – the Royal Star – the Star heralding the dawn of a new age. The Birth of the King of all kings. The Messiah – Jesus the Lord. The age of our invisible wise and Holy God made flesh for us and present here amongst us as Immanuel – God-is-with-us. Forever!
We often say as a figure of speech ‘I’ve had an epiphany!’ Meaning that we have had our eyes opened, we’ve had a revelation of some kind which has made an impact upon us or a fantastic idea has been brought to birth in our minds. The word ‘Epiphany’ actually comes from the Greek word ‘epiphainein’ and later the Latin word ‘epiphania’ which means “to show forth” or “be revealed”. With the visit of the Magi (the three kings/three wise men from the East) came the opportunity for the Infant Christ to be shown and made manifest to all people, revealed to the wider world and in particular the gentile world which is what they represented.
As Christians, we are to show forth and reveal the glory of the Lord in our own lives. The way we live and the way in which we treat others can say a lot about us and about our relationship with Christ. This relationship must then influence our lives and the lives of those whom we meet every day. We are, through our Baptism commissioned by the Lord to live for Him each day, tell others about Him and reveal His love in the way in which we love too. Just as Jesus was and is a Prophet, Priest and King, we too, by the grace of our Baptism share in these roles too.
We can bring our own gifts to the Infant Jesus as we seek Him. We can still seek Him just as the three visitors from the east did all those years ago. When we seek Him with all of our heart then we find Him. As we draw near to Him, He draws near to us. That is the Father’s promise especially revealed to us in the little Baby of Bethlehem, Jesus Christ come in the flesh. Born as a Man for us by the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus is Lord not only of the Jewish people but the whole world. He is Prophet and Suffering Servant (Myrrh); Priest (Frankincense) and King (Gold). This new year, may we offer to the Lord our worship and prayer (Incense), our sufferings (Myrrh) and our whole selves (Gold). As the New Year begins we walk again in untrodden ground. We ask the Lord to guide our steps as we begin another Year.
Our prayer this week, based on a prayer by St Columba of Iona.
Lord, we ask you to be;
A smooth way before us
A guiding star above us
And a watchful eye behind us
This day, this New Year, for ever.