The journey of three astrologers to the epiphany of Christ includes every means of revelation discussed this week. A peculiar star piques their interest. It prompts wonder to the point of fixation and a search for the truth to which it points. So they journey toward nature’s beacon like children tracking down the rainbow’s landing. They seek orientation in Jerusalem and listen to those who know scripture. Even paranoid Herod gives ear. Hearing prophetic references to Bethlehem as the anticipated birthplace of the Messiah, the astrologers take the clue, unlock the riddle, and draw a map. Yet, it leads them to an undecipherable mystery of love.
By the time they find the humble family with the small child, that love touches them. Having sensed Herod’s intentions in commissioning them to report the child’s whereabouts, they choose the way of mercy and justice for a family vulnerable to his power. They tear up the map and never share a word with Herod.
Touched by God, they prove faithful witnesses. They praise the child, honor him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. In Matthew’s telling, these outsiders worship the Messiah first. In their home country to which they return, they may bear witness there too. At personal risk, they put into action their trust in a wonder unseen. Such is faith. Faith lights the eye to glimpse the incomprehensible. They find something too wonderful to explain. Their journey leads to a revelation of divine love beyond natural or magical understanding.
A star lights their way, yes; but if they follow only literal light, they would see just a pitiful family on the edge, not the newborn Prince of Peace. God’s gift of faith, scripture, and love lights their way and illumines the manger. The star is gone, but Jesus’ eternal light remains.
Lord, light our way with love to truth that sets us free. Amen.
As we approach Epiphany Sunday, we think of the coming of God into the world as the coming of a brilliant light—a light that shines into dark corners, a light that shines on people who dwell in darkness. The light of God brings with it the power of restoration to a people in exile. It shines transforming power on forgotten ones who will now arise and shine. God’s presence brings light and well-being. At this time of year, we may desire God’s light to shine upon us.
Read Matthew 25:31-46. Where do you see darkness in your community? How can you shine Christ’s light?
Read Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14. Consider the differences between fairness, justice, and mercy. Who around you suffers when fairness wears the cloak of justice? How can you turn the situation toward mercy?
Read Ephesians 3:1-12. Was there a time when you thought the gospel was not for you? What has changed?
Read Matthew 2:1-12. We can decipher mystery through light, mercy, witness, and love. How is Christ revealed to you this Epiphany?
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