Sunday, January 5, 2014

Epiphany - what is it anyway?

Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day and Twelfth Day, is celebrated on January 6.  This celebration occurs on the 12th day after Christmas.  The word Epiphany means "manifestation" or "revelation."  In the Western culture, Epiphany is associated with the visit of the Wise Men to see the child Jesus. Christ reveals himself to the gentiles through the Magi.  In Eastern Christianity, Epiphany emphasizes the baptism of Jesus by John, where Christ is revealed to the world as God's own Son.  Some denominations commemorate the miracle of Jesus turning water into wine, another manifestation of Christ's divinity.

The Gospel of Matthew is the only place that the Three Kings are mentioned in Scripture.  Matthew says that they came from "the east" and does not even give a specific number. Tradition assumes there were three Wise Men since three gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh are mentioned. Scholars speculate that these men came from the areas of Persia, Arabia, or perhaps India.

It's generally believed that the kings took at least over a year to reach Jesus, traveling thousands of miles to worship him, and acknowledge Him as Jesus Christ, the Messiah.  The Wise Men were warned in a dream to return home via another route, and not report back to Herod.

This was quite the journey that these three Wise Men made...thousands of miles, to a foreign land.  What inspired them to respond and persevere?  These men had a determination to find Jesus, and they did! 
He wasn't hiding from them, and He isn't hiding from us either!  He wants a relationship with us, we need only seek Him out.  Just as the wise men did not return home along the same route that they came, we also are forever changed when we encounter Jesus in our life.  We turn from old ways of doing things, to living through the eyes of Love, the eyes of Jesus.

As the new year begins, I challenge myself to travel through my life seeking Jesus, just as these men did.  I want to persevere in seeking Him, in seeking His will for my life.   "For we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7)....Those Three Kings had FAITH!  

The video below gives a glimpse of the celebration into a Latino celebration for Three Kings Day...complete with gifts!