Today celebrates Epiphany, the day when the wisemen arrived to present their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh (or “murph” as a little boy in my mom’s Sunday School class recently said) to the newborn King.
For me, I look forward to December 25 with anticipation, embrace the new year when it rolls around a week later, and then turn my sights towards the Lenten/Easter season. Thus Epiphany has often been overlooked on my calendar of spiritual observations. Today, however, I am reminded of how this thirteenth day after Christmas is the day the Magi finally arrived, which meant that the star was still shining, guiding them to the babe in the manger.
“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.’
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.”
(Matthew 2:1-2, 7-12; NIV)
Four things stand out to me about these men:
1.) Physical endurance – they must have endured rugged and hot terrain as they traveled a lengthy distance to seek the newborn king of the Jews (vs. 1).
2.) Focused awareness – they were learned men, students of the heavenlies, scholars who recognized this new star in the East prophesied the lauding of the Messiah (God with us) (vs. 2).
3.) Joyful arrival – they excitedly came bearing gifts. As they bowed on bended knees I can’t help but wonder if they recognized how their earthly treasures only paled in comparison to the majesty of the Savior of the world before them (vs. 10-11).
4.) Spiritual wisdom – they heeded the warning given by God, chose not to obey reigning King Herod, and outsmarted him by going home a different way (vs. 12).
Another good reminder came as I read this devotional today:
“These men came to the King, bearing gifts. You and I have gifts to bring to the King of Kings as well. Ephesians 2:10 reveals that we are each masterpieces of God – one-of-a-kind creations – complete with certain gifts and talents. These gifts help us fulfill God’s good plans for our lives. When we use them to bless others, we bless our King as well.”
May we not lose sight of seeing where God is at work, giving our best, and joining him there (Henry Blackaby). And, most importantly, may His light continue to shine in our lives, continually pointing towards and drawing others to the Savior (Matthew 5:16).
Oh come to my heart, Lord Jesus!
There is room in my heart for Thee.
Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne and Thy Kingly Crown – Emily E. Elliot, 1864