“When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”
That passage from Matthew 2:10-11 recounts the arrival of the Magi, or Three Kings. It often is shared as a Christmas story, but it really belongs to Epiphany, which was Sunday. Epiphany, the revelation of God Incarnate, of the Word made flesh, is the beginning of God being revealed in Christ to the Gentiles.
For the next eight weeks, this oft-overlooked season takes us through the life and ministry of Christ. This Sunday we recall The Baptism of Our Lord, capped in Luke 3:22 by God’s recognition (for our sake) of Christ’s divinity: “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
In the weeks that follow we revisit the wedding at Cana, Jesus preaching in his ministry, calling the apostles, some of Christ’s core teachings in Blessings and Woes (Luke 6) and the admonition to love our enemies (also Luke 6).
The Last Sunday after Epiphany, March 3, brings us to The Transfiguration, when Jesus appears before Peter, James and John on the mountain, beaming light, alongside Moses and Elijah. God speaks, recalling the words at Christ’s baptism, calling us to follow him: “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!”
We need this time in Epiphany to reflect on our walk in the footsteps of the Magi, searching for Christ. We strive to follow Christ through his teachings, and to stand beside the blessed apostles on the mountaintop and find our lives — and our eternal being — transfigured in Christ’s presence. And we are called to carry the revelation of Christ, as the Magi did, into a world in need.
How do we set about this spiritual journey? How do we know which direction to point our feet so that we go within ourselves, to find and walk with Christ in that quiet space at the center of our soul?
To answer that, I turn to Colossians 3:14-15. It’s actually not a reading in Epiphany, but I think it provides a roadmap for pretty much everywhere we need to go as Christians.
“Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.”
When we clothe ourselves in love, when we bind our souls in perfect harmony to our Creator, we become one in the Body of Christ. When we surrender our hearts to Christ, we need look no further in our journey. We are home. And that is truly reason to be thankful.
Let that spirit of love guide us as we seek Christ this Epiphany, as we seek the power that saves and transfigures all creation. Amen.