The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord

wise men

This past Sunday was the last day of Christmas; that of course is according to the church calendar, when we celebrated the solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. Epiphany is a word connected with light. And as seen in Isaiah 60: 1-6, Jesus is the light of the world:

Arise, Jerusalem, and shine like the sun;

The glory of the Lord is shining on you!

Other nations will be covered by darkness,

But on you the light of the Lord will shine;

The brightness of His presence will be with you.

Nations will be drawn to your light, and kings to the dawning of your new day.

The word Epiphany refers to a revelation, or a manifestation of something. In this case, Jesus was revealed to the world as the light of the world. It’s based on the events narrated in Matthew 2:1-12. This feast was traditionally celebrated on 6th January, but on occasions where the day falls on a working day, the church has moved the celebration to the Sunday before or after 6th.

Some men who studied the stars, commonly referred to as Wise men, had travelled far from Persia, Asia and Africa to see the new born king. The bible doesn’t really specify they were three. King Herod, who had heard of their arrival called them to a secret meeting and instructed them, “Go and make a careful search for the child and when you find him, let me know so that I too may go and worship him.”

They left and followed the star, which went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. They went into the house and when they saw the child with his mother Mary, they knelt down and worshipped him. They presented him their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, which have been interpreted by Christians to symbolize the state of Jesus as a King, Priest and Human (that He would die but not waste away, hence becoming the risen Christ). It’s from their gesture that the Christmas tradition of giving gifts originated.

After seeing the child, they left via a different route as God had warned them in a dream not to go back to Herod. The bible shouldn’t be read as a history book; it’s full of signs: the wise men were led to Jesus by a star that shone from the East, but in real sense He was the actual star and the wise men, we’re told, didn’t go back the same way they had come. This could be interpreted as: when one meets Jesus they never go back the same way they had come; He gives a new beginning.

In my house we haven’t taken down the Christmas decorations yet, but it’s safe to say Christmas is officially over. I feel I have an inexplicable love for Christmas. Sometimes I feel if Christmas were a person I would marry him, just so I could wake up to him everyday; so it would be Christmas everyday. The good thing though, is that we recently celebrated the nativity of our Lord, and it doesn’t have to end there just because party’s over and life’s back to normal. We can choose to live the lives we had before Christ’s birth or, like the wise men, we can take a different route and become changed people.

I wish you all a HAPPY and PROSPEROUS 2014.

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