Wise men traveled many miles from the east toward Bethlehem. They were seeking a young king who was born in that little town. “We have seen his star in the east and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2) They brought gifts fit for a king; gold, frankincense, and myrrh as presents for the child to whom the star had led them. This is the story of the Christian season of Epiphany, the period between Christmas and Lent. The word epiphany means “to show” or “to make known” or even “to reveal”. We remember these wise men coming to bring gifts to the Christ child. In so doing, they “revealed” Jesus to the world as Lord and King. It also reminds us to bring our best gifts to the King of kings.
However, I believe there is more to think about here. Of course, I do believe God calls us to bring our best to Him. But I also know that God invites us to bring our worst as well! The whole reason Jesus came into this world was to reconcile the world to God and to heal the brokenness of sin and separation from our Creator. Christ came to us while we were yet sinners. That proves that God loves us and wants to forgive us and restore us to a loving relationship with Himself. God calls us to come in all our brokenness so that we may be forgiven and set right with God. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1: 9)
The wise men saw his star and responded, seeking Jesus to worship him. When we seek Jesus we can find the peace and great joy that the angels proclaimed on the night of Jesus’ birth. The wise men brought their gifts to honor the Christ child. But our best gift is not of gold or frankincense or myrrh or any other earthly treasure. Our best gift is our self, a changed heart and the testimony of a life lived for God. Nothing reveals the truth of God’s love more than a sinner saved by grace and a life transformed through a relationship with Jesus. When we let our lives shine for Jesus we become the light that leads others to him. Jesus said, “YOU are the light of the world…let your light so shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5: 14-16)
So let your light shine for Jesus this season and every season. Let the world know that Jesus Christ is Lord of lords and King of kings. Yes, bring your burdens and your prayers to him and find the peace and forgiveness that only he can give you. Then, let your life be a living testimony to God’s grace.
I want to leave you with a poem by Thomas Merton, 20th century Trappist monk, poet, and Christian philosopher. It is entitled simply, Carol.
Flocks feed by darkness with a noise of whispers,
In the dry grass of pastures,
And lull the solemn night with their weak bells.
The little towns upon the rocky hills
Look down as meek as children:
Because they have seen come this holy time.
God’s glory, now, is kindled gentler than low candlelight
Under rafters of a barn:
Eternal Peace is sleeping in the hay,
And Wisdom’s born in secret in a straw-roofed stable.
And O! Make holy music in the stars, you happy angels.
You shepherds, gather on the hill.
Look up, you timid flocks, where the three kings
Are coming through wintry trees;
While we unnumbered children of the wicked centuries
Come after with our penances and prayers,
And lay them down in the sweet-smelling hay
Beside the wise men’s golden jars.
Peace to you, Chuck