Today we celebrate the Epiphany - the day the wise men came to see Jesus.
The word “epiphany” comes from two Greek words that mean “to shine upon.” Sometimes people use the word “epiphany” to mean a sudden realization or understanding of something. Like when you shine a light in a dark corner, you can see something that you couldn’t before. Something is revealed. Now you know.
When we celebrate the Epiphany, we are remembering how the wise men, the ones who were paying close attention, realized something very important had happened when Jesus was born. They saw a new brightness shining upon the earth - a star. And they followed that light to find the new king. They wanted to see what this bright star would reveal.
Far away, in the East, three clever men saw the very same star. The star that God had put in the sky when Jesus was born. They knew it was a sign. A baby king had been born.
They had been waiting for this star. They knew it would come.
"He's here!" they shouted. "He's here!" (And I'm sure if you'd been there, you would have heard them laughing and dancing and singing until the sun came up!)
At dawn, they packed up their camels and wrapped gifts for the baby. They brought their most precious treasures of all: frankincense, gold, and myrrh. Special, sparkly, lovely-smelling, gleaming things - just right for a king."
The wise men travel a long way to reach Jesus - “across endless deserts, up steep steep mountains, down into deep, deep valleys, through raging rivers, over grassy plains…” They look in the wrong place first. They find another king who is jealous and insecure and tries to trick them into betraying Jesus. But they press on, and they end up somewhere unexpected. (Which is often where we find Jesus, I think.)
When the wise men reach Mary and Joseph’s house, they give Jesus wonderful gifts. Even though he’s not in the palace, they know he is the new king, the one God has promised. And so they offer him the best of what they have to give.
God’s light is still shining in our world on this Epiphany, so many years later. Like the wise men, I want to follow the star - to look into the once-dark corners to see what the light of Christ will reveal. I want to keep going and end up somewhere unexpected. I want to find Jesus, the King of Kings, and I want to offer him the best of me.
Happy Epiphany! Wishing you warmth and light tonight and every night…