"Epiphany." The Christian calendar reminds us this is the day to bring to a close the season spoken of in England as Christmastide. Known also as "The Twelfth Day of Christmas," this day is identified as the time when the Magi, in following the Star promised by the Prophet Micah, presented themselves with gifts to the Christ child, the One who, it was said, was to be King of the Jews.
"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." (Micah 5:2)
I began to pack up our home crèche, tissue-wrapping each of the small porcelain figures from the "stable" and placing each into the proper box as I have done for many years. This time was slightly different. I had displayed the Magi, not at the stable, but, across the room and onto another table. Last year one of the Magi broke, so there were only two. But then, I reasoned, the Bible does not actually say there were three Kings from the East who followed the Star.
"Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, 'Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him." (Matthew 2:1)
Nor did the "Wise Men" worship the newly born Babe in a manger at a stable, but at a house, more than likely up to two years after His birth, taking into account Herod's edict of the massacre of male children two years old and under.
"...behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. ...And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh." (Matthew 2:9, 11) (bold face emphasis is mine)
These men from the East followed the extraordinary Star, prophesied by Isaiah, which led to God's destination for them.
"Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the LORD will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising." (Isaiah 60:1-3)
Many believe there were three "Wise Men", "Kings", "Magoi" (Greek) because three gifts are mentioned. Each gift reveals who Jesus is: 1) Gold represents Jesus as King. 2) Frankincense, both the sweet fragrant incense offering and medicinal resin reminds us of Jesus, as Priest and Healer 3) Myrrh, used in embalming, symbolic of Jesus' death ("Born to die"), the prophesied sacrificial atonement of Himself for all mankind.
Epiphany, then, is the first manifestation or disclosure of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, to the Gentile world!
And today, there is more God wants to reveal to you about Jesus, to live a full, abundant life in the Spirit. Ask. Seek. Knock. Let Jesus illuminate your mind and way!
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© Constance Vanides