Epiphany: Light of the World
The day after Christmas can sometimes can be a let down, especially in Minnesota. After the holiday is over, we settle in for three or four months more of a cold, long winter. The church calendar, however, says there is still more to celebrate! Contrary to many popular images of the manger scene, the wise men were still on their way when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, so on Epiphany we commemorate the appearance of the wise men to Jesus.
Epiphany is more than the day that Jesus got his presents of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Epiphany celebrates the reason why Jesus was born as a human baby: to bring all people to God. These wise men from the east were almost certainly not Jewish, not related to Jesus at all. They would have had no connection to Jesus had it not been for the unusual circumstances of his birth. God used a star — a sign they would have understood — to bring them to Bethlehem and see the baby King. Jesus was only a few days old, but he was already drawing to himself those who otherwise would not have known God.
We celebrate Epiphany because God’s promise is not just for the Jews. Jesus was born to save, and we know that God’s salvation is “to the Jew first and also to the Gentile” (Rom. 1:16). Jesus was born to shine light into every corner of this dark world, that those who otherwise would not have known God might be drawn into the brightness of his presence.
As we are becoming a crossover community, let us meditate on the message of Epiphany: Jesus was born to save Jews and Gentiles, to unite people from North, South, East, and West. We want to be like Jesus as we cross over, moved by Jesus toward those who otherwise would not know God. As we follow God’s guidance like the wise men, we will be led nearer to Jesus, Savior of the nations, Light of the world.
by Hilary Ritchie