In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, magi from the east came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star in the east and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him, and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it has been written by the prophet:
‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah, for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.’ ”
When was the last time you looked up at the stars? With our modern light pollution and focus on life indoors, it really takes intentionality to stargaze. Yet, some of my most awestruck moments in nature have come by reflecting on the beauty of God’s creation in the night sky. When we marvel at all that God has created and done for us while staring at the heavens, it can be moving. Despite the scope of God’s creation, God chose to come to earth in the form of a tiny baby…to show you and I how to live and love…to reconcile us to the Creator and enable us to share this love and grace with others. Simply put, we are called to be God’s light in this world.
Today is Epiphany; a day in which we celebrate the manifestation of God. Our Companion to the Book of Common Worship states, “For Christians, Christmas marks the coming of God to us; Epiphany celebrates the appearance of the Lord in the midst of humanity. The Christmas stories of the birth of Immanuel declare the divine entry; Epiphany extols the revelation of God to the world in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. In our celebrations of Christmas and Epiphany we rejoice in the dawning and the arising of Light in darkness. … Epiphany not only discloses the Savior to the world but also calls the world to show forth Christ, to be witnesses to God’s true Light. The timeless mystery of the incarnation, God in flesh, leads us forth to show and tell of Christ as God’s gift of grace and salvation for all persons.”
Like the magi, may we be transformed by our encounter with the Christ child and respond by sharing God’s light and love with everyone we meet.
Light of the World, we thank You for the celebrations of the holidays, for time with family and friends, and for moments to reflect of our blessings. As we return to our routines, work, school, and schedules, strengthen us to be transformed by the power of Your birth and entry into this world. Embolden us to be different this year and to share Your light and love in powerful and transforming ways. Walk with us today so that we may be Your instruments of grace and mercy. Amen.