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Epiphany--Still Finding Christmas Awe by Sue Wright





I have to admit when I saw my blog assignment was Epiphany, I had to scratch my head. Why me and why Epiphany? I know next to nothing about Epiphany. I grew up a Southern Baptist. Still wondering, I eventually whined my perplexity to our pastor. In response, Jason just smiled. “It’s Christmas, Sue!”

“Oh . . .” And with that “epiphany,” I have begun to write this blog.

According to Google and one of its online theological sites, what we celebrate as Epiphany is “the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the story of the Magi—The Three Kings—in Matthew 2:1-12.” And what a story it is!

Think about it! These three guys—these three wise guys-- hearing the rumors that a baby has been born worthy of their adoration, embark on a trip by camel into seriously unfamiliar territory, and begin knocking at door after door, palace after palace-- stirring up all kinds of trouble-- until they finally give up on finding Jesus in Jerusalem, and follow the star they’ve been following for what seems like forever, to a house some miles away, maybe even years away. They “see the child with his mother Mary, and bow down and worship him. Then they open their treasures and present him with gifts of gold and incense and myrrh.”

Until fairly recently, you know, sometime in the last forty or fifty years, I put the Magi and their gifts right alongside the shepherds and their flocks on Christmas night. You have to agree, makes a nice picture: rich and poor gathered around the newborn Son of God. Certainly adds diversity to the crèches we love perching on our mantles each December. But in truth, Epiphany is a January extension of the Christmas story—a story that happened in addition to what we mark as Christmas Day—a story proven to earn its own commemoration. For without the Magi, who knows how Christ’s birth would have been broadcast from his hometown to other nations. By “returning to their country by another route,” no telling who they may have told about the “the perfect light” they now so joyfully claimed as theirs.

Not to worry if you want to go on combining all the characters of Christmas into one beautiful scene. It’s hard to change old habits. On the other hand, isn’t it nice we have another opportunity by way of the Epiphany story to experience the Holy Awe of locating our Savior, and then like the Wise Men, giving Him a permanent place in our hearts?

Sue Wright