Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. 1 Peter 4:10
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
EPIPHANY (ee-PlF-uh-nee) is the Greek word for appearance or manifestation, an illuminating or revealing discovery, realization, or experience.
Long before Christmas (December 25) became a Christian festival, the Epiphany of our Lord was celebrated by the Church on January 6 to commemorate the manifestation of God in the birth and baptism of Jesus.
As December 25 came to be more widely observed as a day to celebrate the bifth of Jesus, Epiphany came to be associated with the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation (showing forth) of Christ to the Gentiles (the nations, beyond lsrael).
When we think of the visit of the Magi (not kings), the words and tune of the familiar song often come to mind: “We three kings of Orient are; bearing gifts we traverse afar.”
The Magi “saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then . . . they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:1 1)
The Bible is full of dozens of references of God’s gifts to us and all people – the gift of life, the free gift of grace, the gift of the Holy Spirit, etc. But in the Magi we see an example of people giving gifts to God in Christ.
The Season of Epiphany (which lasts until Ash Wednesday, February 10) is all about Christ being shown forth to the world. How do we “show forth” Christ to our world? We can do so by imitating the Magi – not with gifts of gold, frankincense, or myrrh, but with gifts of love, care, compassion, and striving for peace and justice in our communities, nation, and world.
This Epiphany season, think about how you are and can be a gift to the world, beginning with the world immediately around you each day. What can you do or say to make God’s love and mercy in Jesus Christ known to those around you?
These are the gifts that last and the gifts that make a difference, long after most of the gifts exchanged at Christmas are forgotten or taken for granted.
YOU are God’s gift of love to the world. Be that gift!
With thanks to God for the gift that you are,
Pastor Wayne Matthias-Long