"A manifestation of a divine or supernatural being; a moment of sudden revelation or insight."
Today marks Epiphany, or Three Kings Day. Twelfth Night has ended, and the magi have arrived. A celebration of the visit of the Magi to the Christ child, and the physical manifestation of Christ to the gentiles.
After today, the twelve days of Christmas are over and we enter Carnival. King Cake season. A celebration in preparation of the coming fast.
I think the Biblical account of the Magi provides us a blueprint for how to approach this new year with the appropriate viewpoint.
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 'In Bethlehem in Judea,' they replied, 'for this is what the prophet has written:
'"But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel."'
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed (They rejoiced with exceeding great joy). On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route."
What would it look like if we started the year with exceeding great joy, celebrating our encounter with the Messiah? If we brought Him the best gifts we can, that reflect His character. Gold celebrated His kingship, frankincense celebrated His deity, and myrrh celebrated His death. What would we bring, what aspect of His character would we celebrate?
That's our call in this season, in this new year. To rejoice with exceeding great joy.
There is also a warning in this passage. When the Magi question the leadership of Israel, it's clear that all the priests and scribes know what to look for, where the Messiah will be born. They have all the knowledge necessary to go and find him. But the Magi are the only ones who do. You would think some of those scribes would be curious enough to go and see if this is finally it, if the Messiah has arrived. But none leave their routine. None leave their pattern or comfort.
Don't get so stuck in your routine that you miss the miraculous around you.
Go forth, celebrate the season. Let's start the year with joy. And may we carry that spirit forward throughout the year.