The Epiphany of Our Lord
On January 6, 12 days after Christmas, we celebrate the visit of the Wise Men, or Magi. We do not know how many dignitaries visited Jesus (undoubtedly more than three), we do not know their names, we do not know exactly where they traveled from or exactly when they arrived. We do know that they followed a star, a bright and glorious star – the Bethlehem Star.
In the days of Jesus’ birth, it was believed that when a world leader was born, a stellar phenomenon would appear in the sky. Halley’s Comet was first seen around 11 BC. In ancient Egypt, the bright star Sirius appeared in the daytime instead of at nighttime. History tells us that the Jews, the Romans and the Persians were all looking to the sky for signs of the birth of a very extraordinary king at about this same time. The Magi were scholars of astronomy and were highly respected by those from within their own countries and beyond. They were also known for their ability to interpret dreams. Whatever they saw in the sky that night, it was enough to convince them that they had seen the long-awaited sign as told by the prophets. Knowing they were taking a great risk by disobeying Herod, the Magi followed through on their epiphany and began their journey. They were the first Gentiles to recognize that Jesus came to bring the Good News for the whole world, and not just for a chosen few.
Like the Magi, may we, too, look for the signs of Jesus in our midst and be overjoyed with the Good News.
- Susan Daniels