Monday, January 10, 2011

Wise Persons and Epiphany

“In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews?’” (Matthew 2:1)

Last Thursday (January 6) was the official beginning of the Christian season of “Epiphany.” The word itself means “manifestation” or “revelation,” and it’s a reference to the fact that in the person of Jesus, God manifested/revealed Himself to humanity in a way never before seen. In Jesus, God’s nature and character was shown and modeled for us, and in his life and actions we see an example of how we are to live and act.

Throughout this season, we’re encouraged -- like the “wise men (magi) from the East” in scripture above -- to seek out Christ in all that we say and do. We’re encouraged to think about and consider the many ways that God through Christ “manifests” or “reveals” himself to us in our daily lives. And we’re asked to let others know of our great find!

A number of years ago, my home church had the following article in their newsletter that challenges each of us to follow the example of the Magi in seeking Jesus each and every day. I hope it speaks to you, as well!

“Wise [persons] do not always come from the East
Nor do they always follow stars.
But they do cross boundaries,
And pay attention to what is happening
In the rest of the world....

Epiphany is a revelation:
Things hidden in plain sight are made manifest,
Unobserved except by those with eyes trained to see...
Even now those who are to be kings on earth
A generation hence are hidden among us, unrecognized.
We do not know their names or time or place.

There is no natural order of succession.
God stores up His own surprises in hamlets,
In all the hovels of history.
When Messiah comes, stars will know.
Magi, too.
But Herod will not know
And his scribes will be caught napping.

When Christ comes again
Must Christians, too
Wait for strangers to tell us?
Must each Epiphany come as a surprise
Because we weren't watching?
[–Wayne Saffen, cited in Fayetteville (GA) First United Methodist
Church Newsletter, January 8, 1995]

My prayer for each of you is that we open our eyes to see the living Christ in and among us always! Remember, God loves you and I do, too!

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