Today is Epiphany. Today and in the Sundays following we celebrate the in-breaking of God’s light. The readings help us understand that the manifestation of God is for all people everywhere. This is a message of radical inclusively. The magi are drawn from the east to come to pay homage to the Christ child. They who were once far off are now embraced by the one true God, who has sent a Savior into the world. Likewise, Paul reports in Ephesians that he has been given grace to “bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8). Just as Isaiah had foretold, nations shall come to God’s light (Isa. 60:3).
In this inclusive reality, everyone is welcome, and so are their gifts. Just as the magi showed their respect for Christ with gold, frankincense, and myrrh, we can offer our gifts and talents to further the brightness of God’s dawn. Whatever we bring—no matter how simple—is accepted and used for a mighty purpose.
There is also a sense of joy at this Epiphany. When the magi saw that the star they were following had stopped over the place where the Christ child lay, they were overwhelmed with joy (Matt. 2:10). The angel had declared to the shepherds that the newborn child would bring good news of great joy for all the people (Luke 2:10). Now again, Christ brings joy to all. Christianity is a truly joyful religion.
Through word and sacrament we too are invited to rise and shine, for our light has come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon us. Fed and nourished in worship, we are sent forth to bear witness, to let our little lights shine.
Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12
God’s promise shines bright in the night as magi follow a star to honor a new king. Strangers from a faraway land, they welcome the long-awaited messiah of Israel.
1In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” 3When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 4and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
6‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd my people Israel.’ ”
7Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. 8Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” 9When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. 11On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.”