Tuesday, December 1st Matthew 2:7-12

Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road. Matthew 2:7-12

The Christmas season lasts for 12 days and is followed by the season of Epiphany. “Epiphany” means “revealing”. It begins on January 6th, the Day of Epiphany, which remembers the visitation of the three kings (magi, wisemen, astrologers?) to the baby Jesus who is still, 12 days later, in Bethlehem. I’ll say more about that below.

The color of Epiphany is green and the theme is the revelation of Jesus to the world. There are holidays within Epiphany – next year, the church will remember the “Name of Jesus” on January 1st and the “Baptism of Jesus” on January 10th. The length of the Epiphany season can vary from 4 weeks to 9 weeks, depending on the date of Easter. The last Sunday of Epiphany is Transfiguration Sunday where Jesus gathers with his disciples on the mountain and his ministry is again affirmed by God in the presence of Moses and Elijah.

Now back to the visitation of the wise men….

In all of our Christmas pageants this Advent season, the wise men are going to show up at the manger about fifteen seconds after the shepherds, or maybe after a verse or two of “Away in A Manger”. I don’t know when that happened, but it has always been that way in my lifetime. We just make the story come out the way we want it to come out. The wise men are as much a part of a manger scene as the lowing cattle (lowing, I think, means “mooing” but I never learned about that at the seminary…I just love the song.)

In other words, we just remember the story the way we want to remember the story. The Epiphany season, observed well, will threaten that temptation we have to bend the faith so that it says what we want it to say.

We want the faith to be about US, about OUR concerns, about OUR hopes and dreams. The Epiphany season says that God has much bigger plans that just us – God is out to save the entire world. It is the foreigness, the strangeness, the “out of placeness” of the three magi that is as much a part of the story as their gifts of gold (fit for a king), frankincense (for carrying prayers in worship) and myrrh (used to prepare a body for burial.)

The Epiphany season tells us that the child is named “Jesus” because God wants to save his people, ALL his people, from their sins. Jesus is baptized in the Jordan to identify himself with all the rest of the sinners who will come to die and be raised to new life through baptism from that time forward. Transfiguration Sunday says that nothing is going to stop Jesus from completing the mission that God has been working out from the very beginning. A mission for all people!

When you look at it that way, it only makes sense that the magi are right there at the manger.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, in so many ways we want to keep you for ourselves. We want you to confirm us in our prejudices and to allow us to close down to the needs and the realities of the wider world. So we pray that you open our hearts to see life through new eyes, to recognize your presence in the stranger, and to join in your mission of love for all. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


2 Responses to “Tuesday, December 1st Matthew 2:7-12”

  1. Wilfred Landers Says:

    Pastor Kerry,

    I enjoy reading your daily devotions; even though I do not attend any church I am very much a beliver in the Lord Jesus. I don’t understand how christian belief is based on the old mighty dollar. The last church I attended said their docturne was strictly by the bible. It was ok to drink and many other things I did not believe in. I know I am saved and that I have a place reserved in heaven. I know for one thing that a person cannot buy or drink their way to heaven.



  2. Tracey Says:

    This was awesome! I wish church year would be as ingrained, observed and as much a part of our daily lives as the high holidays.

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