Smee: I've just had an apostrophe.
Captain Hook: I think you mean an epiphany.
Smee: No... lightning has just struck my brain.
Captain Hook: Well, that must hurt.
Very often I have ideas that creep into my mind slowly after much thinking, careful researching, and zealous pipe pondering (for those of you who care nothing in the bowl but regular old Cavendish). Once in a great while though, I have an apostrophe err…epiphany.
Today is the feast of the Epiphany. It is the day we remember the visit of the Magi. So much tradition has grown up around the simple statements made by Matthew in the second chapter his Gospel. This was a big deal. At Christmas we sing We Three Kings and set up Melchior, Balthazar, and Caspar around the manger. Do we really consider the impact of this bit of the Advent story? I thought that on the Feast of Epiphany you might benefit from some observations about the visit of the Magi.
They were men of science: In those days there was not a distinction between Astronomy and Astrology.
They left their homes in search of a great King whose birth was heralded by the stars.
They brought expensive gifts to honor this King and inquired at Jerusalem, Israel’s capital for the new King’s whereabouts.
It was not just Herod the Great who was disturbed by this news but all of Jerusalem.
Herod feigned friendship to the Magi and intended to murder this new King, an obvious rival
God warned the Magi to avoid Herod on their journey home
A direct result of their visit was the murder of all the toddlers and infants in Bethlehem
In many parts of the world today, children are awakening to gifts left by either the Magi or Befana (see her story here http://village.fortunecity.com/radclyffe/541/SoulKitchen/Folklore/folklore.html). Perhaps a simple way to extend our Christmas into the New Year and avoid the post Christmas let down is to hold back a small gift or sweet treat for our children and loved ones and surprise them with it on Epiphany or Twelfth Night. We know that the timing we assign to all of this is traditional and not factual. We know that we know very little about the Magi and even less about the events surrounding their visit to Jesus. We also know that they undertook a perilous journey and went into great danger to honor the Advent of Christ. I encourage you to find a way to remember that men who did not need to left their homes to honor the birth of Christ and in some way share that wonder of that with your loved ones. Their journey was significant enough to God for him to include it in the Gospels. That alone makes it worth commemorating.
Wishing you joy in the journey,