Instructed by the king, they set off. Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time! They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh. Matthew 2: 9-11 The Message Today is Epiphany, the twelfth day after Christmas. This is when the church remembers and celebrates the coming of the Magi, or Wise Men, to visit the Christ-child. These three verses are the portion of the story where the star guides them to Bethlehem, to the place where the child would be found. It is easy for us to picture these three (or more) Magi following a star in the Eastern sky. The imagery has captured the minds of many musical composers, painters, and other visual artists. The starlight leads these strangers from the East to the small child who would grow up to proclaim himself, “The Light of the World!” Herod tried to put out the light of the one born “the King of the Jews” (the title Herod had given himself!) His efforts led to what is called “the slaughter of the innocents.” What he did is terrible, but ultimately, he was not successful. Even in a world which is sometimes dark, the light is never extinguished. At the end of this chapter from Matthew’s gospel, it is Herod, not the baby Jesus, who is dead. Consequently, the theme of light plays heavily in celebrations of Epiphany. This story of Epiphany echoes the beginning of the Gospel of John: What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by. The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out. John 1: 4-5 The Message On this day of Epiphany, we need to remember to rejoice in the light of Christ! Find joy in the good news that all of the evil and darkness in the world will never be able to extinguish the light of Christ Jesus! Prayer God of light, I ask You to shine Your love upon me, and cast the brightness of Your love into all of the darkest recesses of our world. Illuminate all creation with Your light! Warm my heart with Your love! May this day inspire me to know the power of Your light which reaches every person. May those both near and far know the glory of Your light. Let us all be drawn towards the true light of Your Son, who is the Light of the World. Amen.
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