2020-01-07 - Epiphany
Originally Published 2009-01-07
For too many Christians, Christmas celebrations are “over” either on the 26th or right after New Year’s Day. But actually, in the Western church calendar (that of Presbyterians, Lutherans and more), Christmas lasts until Epiphany, which always falls on January 6th, but is sometimes celebrated the Sunday before the 6th. Epiphany commemorates the day that the Persian Priests (known popularly through the years as the Wise Men) visited the young Jesus. Though scholars now believe that the visit actually took place some years after Christ’s birth, it is logical to celebrate it while Christ's birth is fresh on people's hearts.
We don't hear much about Epiphany. In fact, just out of curiosity, today I checked our own CFdevotionals website, and in 13 years - though my fellow writers have done some terrific work - I could only find one devotional on Epiphany, and that was mine from 2006. The word “epiphany” translates as “manifestation,” and in this case, it’s a manifestation that’s vital to Christianity: the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, or non-Jewish people. It was the first living proof that His love and salvation were for all races.
Matthew 2:9-11 (The Message) 9-10 Instructed by the king, they set off. Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time! 11 They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh.
What does it all mean to us? In addition to the fact that it means that Christ came into the world (as Emmanuel, which means "God with us") for all of us, the “Wise Men” also provide inspiring examples for us. Their gifts weren’t what we would typically think of brining to a small child - frankincense, myrrh and gold. Nor were they very practical. But they were individualized and meaningful to the givers.
What gifts are you bringing to God? They don’t have to be expensive, if you aren’t wealthy. They don’t have to be like your spouse’s, your grandmother’s gifts, your pastor's, or your best friend’s. In fact, they should be related to, and representative of, you. What has God given you, that you can present to Him for use in His Kingdom? A talent such as art or singing? A little money from an unexpected inheritance? Your time, as a volunteer? I encourage you to prayerfully consider what gold, frankincense or myrrh that you will bring to the Lord during 2009. I would love to hear about your gifts, if you care to share.Epiphany
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All verses are from the New American Standard Version (NASB) unless otherwise noted.