e·piph·a·ny n. pl. e·piph·a·nies
1. A Christian feast celebrating the manifestation of the divine nature of Jesus to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi.2. A revelatory manifestation of a divine being.3. a. A sudden manifestation of the essence or meaning of something.
b. A comprehension or perception of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realization
My faith family has gotten a little off of the beaten path with our Advent/Christmas season in following the sermon series "A Different Kind of Christmas" as laid down by Rev. Mike Slaughter. In keeping with this study, this Sunday we'll be observing Epiphany, that day when the Magi, those wise men from the east found who they long travelled to see - the Christ Child.
From the East they came, following the star that led them to Bethlehem. The journey may have taken them years - but still they came, bearing gifts to the King. The arrival of the Wise Men was another sign that this Messiah was special, a Messiah sent not just to save Israel, but the whole world.
On Christmas Eve, as part of our worship we heard from the adult Christ. As we read from Matthew 25, we listened to Jesus tell us what was at the top of his "Wish List" - for us to love one another and take care of one another. Christ wants us to treat others with the respect and love one would offer to King; he wants us treat others as we would treat him. Of course, there's a certain amount of irony here - by Matthew 26, Jesus has been given up to the high priest and then to Pilate, by Matthew 27 Christ is on the cross.
Where do we begin to meet the command of the Lord, "Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me."?
It first starts with commitment to Christ, as the Magi traveled from afar to see the Christ Child, many of us come to Christ after a long faith journey. But when we arrive before Christ, what do we have to offer? We can't give him gold, frankincense, or myrrh...
At this point, I find inspiration in stanza four of the hymn In the Bleak Midwinter, by Christina Rossetti:
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.
As you get ready for Sunday worship, what will you bring Christ?