January 5, 2020: The Feast of Epiphany of the Lord
Reading: Matthew 2:1, 9-12
(taken from “The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language” by Eugene H. Peterson)
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah territory – this was during Herod’s kingship – a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. They asked around. “Where can we find the newborn king of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We’re on pilgrimage to worship him.” …The star appeared again 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 worshipped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented the gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh.
I get the theological point of the feast of the Epiphany. Jesus is quickly introduced and accepted by non-Jews. The Gentile world meets and welcomes the Jewish good king – Jesus. The scholars recognize and avoid the bad king – Herod.
I love the visuals of the Epiphany. The camels are definitely my favorites. Camels look so undignified, even silly. Yet the scholars, the wise ones, the three kings ride them right up to the stable that shelters Mary, Joseph and Jesus, the newborn king. This makes me smile.
And the gifts! Great wrapping – jeweled, fancy boxes holding gold, frankincense and myrrh. As a kid, this part of the story always disappointed me. Gold was okay – I knew what it was. But what the heck did anyone do with frankincense and myrrh – whatever they are?? What baby, a newborn at that, would get a kick out of these three gifts?
Too bad the wise men didn’t have access to Google to find a gift for a child sure to please. Had they, their luggage would have been a lot lighter.
Google up “baby girl opens banana gift.” Totally age appropriate present for a child and anyone who wants to see sheer delight in the simplest things, for anyone who wants to laugh and rejoice because a child is born, Emmanuel, God with us.
This week, don’t let a day go by without smiling and/or laughing and/or finding delight in someone or something. I’m going to find a camel to look at.