It is a star and a jealous ruler we have to consider (maybe even thank) for the gift of the Christ Child being manifested for all nations, peoples and creation.
First a brief word on our kin – the shepherds. The lowly shepherds did their part and listened to the message of the angel. They went and saw with great delight the Child in the manger and responded to this message of Good News for the despised, the lowly, the poor, and for themselves. Their message was cause for pondering and holding in their hearts and also in the heart of Mary. Their response to the message may even feel familial one that we too can share and respond to with joy, prayer and praise. Christ the Lord is born for us. The shepherds indeed did their part and help us to find our way to the crib of Christ joyfully and in awe so we can continue to bear witness to the Good News.
Now we turn to the star. It is the star – one of the jewels of creation – that danced in delight at the Birth of Christ. The star had a message too – shining its light upon the Light of the World. In a sense bowing down before and reflecting the One present at creation; delighting in the goodness of God that can never be contained.
The star went ahead of the magi serving as a reminder that God is always present where we are at and where we will be. The star is a sign of God’s guiding ways. When darkness seems to be all around still there is always a glimmer of light that dances and rejoices for it knows that no darkness can consume the Light of lights. Even when sorrow consumes our days or trials and trails seem too great ahead of us there is a light that reminds us God is with us – “I am here until the end of the ages.”
Then there is dear poor Herod; not necessarily one of the good guys. As a jealous ruler he focused on his greed, his wants and was full of selfishness yet he pointed to Christ without knowing it. Do we owe him just a hint of gratitude? acknowledgement? kindness? For his invite to the magi, “Go and search diligently for the Child,” although not sincere was further encouragement for the magi to seek for truth, beauty and God’s goodness (which they knew they were not encountering in Herod). It was this invite to “go and search” which now prompted the magi to the manger and prompts us as well to join the magi in going and searching for the Babe in the manger; the One who has come to us so we may come to God.
We go and search and we are in awe when we discover God among us in the cattle sheds, stables, barns, and caves of our everyday lives. We are in awe that Christ dwells there and comes to us – gently and simply. We are stopped in our tracks, sometimes in amazement and at other times in need of healing and forgiveness. We come before the Prince of Peace, Mighty God, Wonderful Counselor, our Emmanuel, the Christ Child and we offer him our gifts – who we are, what we do, where we go, our skills, talents and abilities. We bring the gift of who we are to One who is pure gift and gifts us with love, peace, hope and joy. We offer all we can, all we hope to be and do and then with light in our eyes, good news in our hearts and willingness in our steps we return to life in a different way; transformed and renewed. We now go ahead filled with light and astounded by God’s love as we offer our gifts to the world in which we live.
We must indeed arise and shine for our light has come. (Isaiah 60.1)
Ahead of me,
you are already there O God.
In my going and searching,
you travel with me O God.
When overwhelmed both in grief and joy,
you are ever present O God.
As I offer my gifts both great and small,
you accept and transform them O God.
This is Epiphany.
Many Blessings of peace and all good for 2019!