Today marks the end of the Christmas Season....this is the 12th day after Christmas, also called Epiphany. It celebrates the coming of the Wise Men to see the child Jesus. They are often lumped in with the shepherds in the Nativity pageants and stand alongside them in our outdoor displays, but actually they did not see Jesus when he was an infant, more like a toddler.
The story from Matthew says that they were from "the East" and often we sing the song that says they are from "the Orient" but no one really knows who they were or where they were from, simply that they were "wise men" who had observed a star rising in the sky that they thought would indicate the birth of a great person. So, they began to watch that star and to follow it. They went on their journey, not knowing where they were going or who they were looking for, but they felt an urgency that made them continue their trek even when they were unsure why or where they were going.
Epiphany is a word we use that means "revelation" or "surprise" or "a-ha". It is one of those "light bulb" moments when suddenly "we get it". Epiphany is called the season of light because it is the light of God that reveals truth to all.
The wise men finally saw that the "star had stopped" and the result was that "they were overwhelmed with joy". They journey had ended, at last. They had found what they had been looking for.
Today is a religious day. Some churches have church services. People may pause and reflect upon what it means to them to have light shine in their lives and reveal the truth to them. Most people will have the day come and go without even thinking about it.
Today begins the Season of Epiphany which lasts until the beginning of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday, February 10. It is a small, short season during which we hear the stories of Jesus' ministry on earth again--changing water into wine, preaching in his home synagogue only to be rejected by many present, being transfigured before his disciples high on a mountain. In each story, a little light is shown on Jesus revealing who he is and what he is about. That light then shines on us to help us understand what Jesus' life and ministry means to us.
Happy Epiphany Day! Let the light of Christ so shine that others will see your good works and give praise to God in heaven for God's wondrous love.