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January 2012 - Epiphany Reminders

Epiphany Reminders

            Sometime after our Lord’s birth, (perhaps a year or even more) a group of Magi from the East (stargazers and students of mystery) followed a miraculous star right to the very house where the newborn King of the Jews was living.  They entered the house of the Holy Family that Joseph had obviously secured by this time, and saw the child with His mother Mary.  We are then told they fell down upon their faces and began to worship the CHILD!!!  These wealthy men, who were used to being in the presence of the King of Babylon, treated this poor house like a palace and fell down, and worshipped the child.  If Mary and Joseph had forgotten that this normal looking baby was something more, this was certainly a powerful reminder.  That is what the season of Epiphany is for, to give us reminders that this Christmas Baby is also God our creator, God made flesh in order to be like us so that we can be recreated to be like Him!

We are also told by St. Matthew that the magi presented this child with three gifts (probably why the tradition of three wise men began), gold, frankincense and myrrh.  Three expensive, thoughtful gifts suited perfectly for Who the child is and what He was born to do.  Gold -- for The King (probably helped pay for their escape into Egypt later...), Frankincense -- an incense used at the altar to symbolize prayer, given here as a prayerful offering to God in the flesh Himself, and myrrh -- a burial spice, for this child was born to die.  This Child, God the Son made flesh, was the Messiah, the Substitute, the One born to take our place under the wrath and judgment of God, the One born to die in order to destroy Sin, Satan, and Death by His own death in our place on a cross.  So even with the gifts we find a powerful Epiphany reminder of the Divinity of this child whose birth we celebrate, that He is much more than just a precious baby.   He is God in diapers.  God come into your very flesh in order to take your place under His wrath and justice and restore you back unto Him.

            The Star, the worship, the gifts, all remind us of exactly who this Baby was, His Divinity, that He is God our Creator and Redeemer.  Such reminders are necessary for us.  For example, it is interesting to note the contrast between Jerusalem and the magi.  The Gentile magi come all the way from Babylon, Jerusalem has Bethlehem right next door, yet no one from Jerusalem, the "children of God" go to visit!

            In this we are reminded how it is indeed a gift of God to have faith in His Son.  You see, by fallen and corrupt nature we were like Jerusalem, unresponsive and dead to our Lord and Creator.  But, we rejoice in knowing that it was God who brought us to Him through the same means he reached the magi -- His means of Grace.  Though He did not use a prophesied, miraculous star to guide us, He has reached out to us gentiles, the unbelievers, those lost in the darkness of sin and despair, and made us His believing children through the light of His Word, the Gospel.  Through Baptism, He has been able to guide us like a star to His very real presence of His Son, to His House to worship Him just as the wise men did in Bethlehem.  He is the One who has enabled us to respond to Who He is and what He has done by offering Him gifts just like the magi -- our "treasures", everything we have, our time, talents, possessions, everything back to His glory and welfare of neighbor.  He has made us gentiles into His Baptized children, the true children of Abraham who seek the Light of His face.

            God grant us the Grace this Epiphany season to be reminded from His Word of Who this Child born for us is and What He was born to do for us, and live in that joyful knowledge and comfort!    Pastor

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