Rubens' Adoration of the Magi. One of my favorite paintings. The original is more than ten feet tall!
Rubens’ Adoration of the Magi. One of my favorite paintings. The original is more than ten feet tall!

Today’s Readings

I wanted to include a short discussion of Epiphany, even though we won’t be holding Sunday School today. This marks the end of the Christmas season. Traditionally it is the day that the Wise Men came to visit the baby Jesus. That is what our Gospel reading, from Matthew, tells us the story of.

Interestingly, the Magi only appear in this one Gospel. (“Magi” was a term used to describe the Near East Magicians, and it ended up sticking to this group of men.) We don’t actually know how many “Wise Men” there were. Estimates range from three, because of the three gifts, to twelve.

It’s interesting to note that the most Jewish-oriented Gospel, Matthew, is the one that records the visit from these Eastern men. They were plainly outsiders in that world, but Matthew goes out of his way to record these visitors.

Finally, think about what the Wise Men were doing when they discovered Jesus. They were searching the stars. In their culture it was common to look for signs in the stars. God spoke to them in a language they could hear, creating a celestial alignment so amazing these men would leave home to search for this king. God will always speak to us in a language we can hear, as he told us in Jeremiah 29:13:

If you seek Me with your whole heart, I will let you find Me.

We have Gospels written from different points of view, so that we can hear God. We have books of the Bible that are written by people from various times, telling the history of so many kinds of people, rich and poor, men and women, young and old. The Bible even tells us that the beautiful sky and trees and mountains were created to declare the Glory of God. God continues to speak to us in such a variety of languages, because He wants to return our hearts to Him.

But these Wise Men–they were wise enough to know that when they had found their answer, their only response was to kneel and present their gifts. They didn’t argue or question, or scoff. No one recalculated the star movement when they found a baby. They asked, God answered, and they said, “Okay.”

How do you seek God? How many different ways is God speaking to you today?

Have a great day, and take a minute to reflect on the Christmas season that comes to an end today.