“Entering the house,
the wise men saw the child with Mary;
his mother and they knelt down
and worshipped him…
And having been warned in a dream
not to return to Herod,
they left for their own country
on another road. --Matthew 2: 11-12
Dear Disciples of Christ the Lord,
TODAY IS EPIPHANY DAY! Epiphany means ‘Coming to Light’. On this day Christians celebrate the light of a new star that guided to Bethlehem distant wise men from the east. Drawn by God’s light they came seeking the newborn King of the Jews.
FOLLOWING THE STAR, THESE ENLIGHTENED WISE MEN find the baby Jesus, kneel to worship Him, and then give Christmas gifts honoring the newborn king. Yet, despite God’s enlightening actions, this story is also riddled with darkness. The dawning of Jesus’ light also brings fear and opposition. The light of infant King Jesus clashes with the dark motives of King Herod.
KING HEROD TOLD THE WISE MEN, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and worship him.” But, after the wise men worshipped Jesus and gave their gifts, they were, “…warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.”
WHEN HEROD REALIZED the wise men left without telling him where to find the newborn KING OF THE JEWS, he ordered the slaughter of all male babies age 2 and younger in Bethlehem. Herod would do anything to kill the newborn rival “King of the Jews.”
POLITICAL INTRIGUE, DECEPTION, AND MURDER OF CHILDREN are the demonic offspring of Herod’s fears. This stirring story is packed with images of our world today. Have we noticed how this world’s powerful--more than anything else--desperately seek to remain in power? Yet, no matter what, Christ the Lord is still Christ the Lord.
Recently at CTL, we took an enlightening theme from our Lord’s words in Revelation 21, “Behold, I am making all things new.” The light of our Lord was making all things new when baby Jesus arrived. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:5).
THIS WORLD IS CHANGING. OUR GOD KEEPS COMING TO LIGHT. Our Lord comes to make all things new. Those wondering, wandering Gentile wise men from the east delivered messages, including that the reach of our Lord’s embrace is broadening. All nations are included in God’s plan for salvation.
THIS IS NOT A NEW THEME! It goes all the way back to God’s promise to bless Abraham, so that he may be a blessing for the whole world. The distinctions between Jew and Gentile--people of different ethnicities and religions--are starting to dissolve. Our Lord’s plan is to make all people new and make all people One in Christ.
WHAT ABOUT US? WHAT DOES FEAR DO TO US? Do we install more security systems? Do we build barriers, or buy more guns? Out of fear of not having enough, do we hoard God’s gifts? Do we close our hearts–and minds–to those who are different from us?
JESUS IS EMMANUEL: GOD WITH US. (Matthew 1:23). Jesus is the living, breathing, and vulnerable promise that God chose to come live with us, and die for us, just as we are. In Christ’s resurrection, we also are brought into the light of new life.
THIS IS MORE THAN JUST A NEW YEAR; OUR LORD IS BRINGING A NEW AGE. An age of mercy, forgiveness, and new life is on the way. Let’s keep listening to our Lord’s unfailing Word for us. And keep watching for the light of our Lord’s new kingdom shining. The Spirit of the risen Jesus will keep enlightening us and will keep sending us out as disciples of Christ the Lord, who makes all things new.
Beloved children of God, Epiphany light be with you,