We are finally nearing the end of the Christmas season. This past Sunday marked the feast of the Epiphany (or manifestation) of the Lord. The readings of scripture remind us that not only did Jesus come to save the Israelites, he came to enlighten the whole world. All of creation is touched by God’s grace and mercy. The appearance of the Magi or Astrologers reminds us that God wants to be in our lives. God sends us messages and signs and symbols to entice us to follow him. But because we have free will and intellect, we make the decision whether or not to respond. The Magi responded and thus the news of salvation was carried with them back to their own countries.
This is the great mystery of the Epiphany: that God wants us so much to be with him, that He repeatedly sends us signs and wonders and messages. This is in contrast to false gods who threaten us with destruction if we don’t give into their whims. This is in contrast to Satan who takes away our hope and repeatedly shows us evil and calamity. God doesn’t need anything from us, but wants to give us everything that is good. Satan and false gods need us to kowtow to their capricious desires because by doing so, they gain power. If we simply ignored the whims and enticements of the devil and his minions, they would have no power over us and would eventually disappear. Perhaps an analogy is in order: the Sander’s bumpy cake only has power over me (and my diet) if I give in to its temptation. If I ignore the cake and refuse to eat it, I don’t gain weight and eventually, it will go away (because I will have to throw it into the garbage). In other words, I have the choice whether to master sin and temptation or be mastered by it.
This coming Sunday is the feast of the Baptism of the Lord when we officially end the Christmas season. Even though we have a few short days left, try to maintain the Christmas spirit. Ask yourself:
How will I manifest Christ to others?
Will I be like the Magi and carry Christ and the message of salvation with me to my school, my place of work, and to the places where I shop and recreate?
Finally, how will I let the Christ Child “gift” me this season of Epiphany?
The Magi brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, but they left Bethlehem with an even greater gift: the gift of Jesus himself. May each of us carry the gift of the Christ Child to all we meet this day.