- Manifestation or appearance
- A moment of sudden revelation or insight.
- Epiphany is a season of revelation—the manifestation of God’s presence in earthly form—God showing up in ordinary and unexpected places to ordinary and unexpected people.
The story of Epiphany is the story of wise people, astrologers, magi, seeking after God by attending to his created order – looking to the stars to find the newborn King. It is the story of the first Gentiles who bow before Jesus as Lord. It is also the story of people terrorized and displaced by a hostile government who nonetheless, recognize and respond to God at work.
Epiphany is also the story of Light shining in the darkness and the God-given all-encompassing promise that, for this reason, darkness can never and will never overcome (John 1:5) – for the Light of the world is with us!
In all of this, Epiphany invites us to consider our own responses to Christ – the Messiah:
The magi journeyed from far away, leaving behind their whole lives in order to seek, find, and follow God. They were distant from Jesus in every way: culturally, ethnically, geographically, yet they desired to be with him, and they trusted Divine One’s leading. When their seeking, found, they worshipped and gave gifts of great worth – gold, frankincense, and myrrh – presents traditionally given to honour Kings. And when they encountered the unexpected – an evil monarch, a small child, a poor carpenter’s family, a young woman people probably still whispered about – these Seekers of Wisdom disrupted the powerful status quo by refusing to obey the orders of a ‘Chief Looks Brave.’ Then, they risked their own lives to provide time and space for Mary, Joseph, and Jesus to migrate to safety. They used their own resources to disrupt evil systems as best they could.
From the moment we are introduced to these Seekers of Wisdom, we see them constantly responding to God: following a star, offering gifts, discerning Herod’s lie and actively subverting this evil ruler’s will.
As we journey with the Seekers of Wisdom, we can’t help but wonder… How near or far are we from God—how are we seeking? How have we experienced God’s guidance firsthand? What might it mean for Jesus to be born into a world still corrupt, full of grief and pain? How might we be called to respond like the Seekers of Wisdom?
PONDER: MAGI FOLLOW AND WORSHIP THE STAR
It was during the days of the bad-hearted Chief Looks Brave (Herod) that the Chosen One was born in the village of House of Bread (Bethlehem) in the Land of Promise (Judea). After his birth, Seekers of Wisdom (Magi) travelling on a long journey from the East came to Village of Peace (Jerusalem).
They began to ask around, “where is the one who has been born to be chief of the tribes of Wrestles with Creator (Israel)? We saw his star where the sun rises and have come to humble ourselves before him and honor him.”
When Chief Looks Brave heard this, he and all who lived in the Village of Peace (Jerusalem) were troubled. He called a council for all the head holy men and scroll keepers and asked them where Chosen One was to be born.
“In House of Bread (Bethlehem) the village of the great chief Much Loved One (David),: they answered. “This is what the ancient prophet said: “But you, O House of Bread (Bethlehem), in the Land of Promise (Judea), even though you are small, you have a good reputation with the chiefs who watch over the land. From you will come a Great Chief who will guide my chosen people – the tribes of Wrestles with Creator (Israel).
Then Looks Brave (Herod) called a secret council with the Seekers of Wisdom (Magi) to find out when the star had first appeared. He then sent them to House of Bread (Bethlehem) and told them, “Look everywhere for the child. Find him and tell me where he is, so that I may also come and honor him.”
After listening to Looks Brave (Herod), the Seekers of Wisdom (Magi) went their way. When they saw the star rising in the East, they jumped with joy, and with glad hearts they followed until the star stopped and rested over the place where the child was. They went into the house and saw the child and his mother, Bitter Tears (Mary). As soon as they saw the child, they bowed down to honor him. Then they opened their bundles and gifted him with gold, sweet-smelling incense and bitter ointment of myrrh. Matthew 2:1-11 First Nations NT
- What words or phrases stand out to you (what is the Spirit highlighting to you)? Why do you think this is?
- Imagine being one of these Seekers of Wisdom…
- What would you be thinking, feeling, wanting to do/not to do?
- How have you experienced following the star and discovering Jesus, perhaps right in your own neighbourhood?
- How does living in God’s Light affect you? (Consider its influence in these verses.)
- What might God be saying to you? To your neighbours?
- How might the Spirit be nudging you to respond?
You might want to journal your responses.
We Three Kings, Star of wonder… guide us to the perfect light.
The following is taken from “Three Shamen, The Elders, and Searching” in The Creator’s Gift collection from the Indigenous Christian Fellowship (Regina, Saskatchewan).
A Magi’s Prayer
O God, who am I now?
Once, I was secure
in familiar territory
in my sense of belonging
the norms of my culture
the assumptions built into my language
the values shared by my society.
But now you have called me out and away from home
and I do not know where you are leading.
I am empty, unsure, uncomfortable.
I have only a beckoning star to follow.
pitch your tent with mine
so that I may not become deterred
by hardship, strangeness, doubt.
Show me the movement I must make
toward a wealth not dependent on possessions
toward a wisdom not based on books
toward a strength not bolstered by might
toward a God not confined to heaven
but scandalously earthed, poor, unrecognized…
Help me find myself
as I walk in others’ shoes.
As part of your prayer practice today, look back over the last month:
- What are you thankful for?
- What’s stood out for you?
- What have you learned?
- How have you seen God at work?
- What might God be saying to you? – your neighbours?
- What’s next? How will you continue to ponder, pray and practice life on God’s mission with the Spirit in your neighbourhood?
PRACTICE: A HOME BLESSING
Epiphany invites us to share the blessing of the Magi’s visit to Jesus’ first home with blessings!
- The blessing of homes around the time of this feast and the beginning of the New Year, expresses the blessing of Christ dwelling among us and with us—including in our homes!
- Since our homes are places of rest, places of hospitality, places of refreshment and love; we pray for God’s blessing on our homes – and share that blessing with and for our neighbours, friends and family and their homes.
- A traditional approach is… [You will need a candle and chalk.]
Light the candle, pause for a moment of silent prayer…
Pray using this as an example.
Creator of heaven and earth,
we praise You for You revealed Your only Son to the nations by the guidance of a star.
Continue to shine Your Guiding Light on those who seek You.
As the Magi blessed the home of the infant Jesus, bless this home, all who live in it and all who visit here.
May Your loving and gracious Presence be tangible in our hospitality, in our comings and goings, our conversations, our work and play, our joys and sorrows.
Fill us with Your light that we might share Your peace and love with our neighbours and all who enter.
Bless us, our neighbours and all whom we love, today and forevermore.
We ask this through Jesus, the Christ who dwells among us. Amen.
- Using chalk on the lintel (frame) either above the door, or at the side of the door, outside or inside, (or on a piece of paper which you could post near or on your door) write:
- ♰ 20 C M B 22 ♰
- 20 and 22 being the year,
- the ♰ (Cross) being a symbol of Christ,
- C, M, B standing for Christus Mansionem Benedicat, the Latin words meaning, “May Christ bless this home”
and the initials of the traditional names of the wise men, Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar.
As we celebrate Epiphany (and every day!),
may our joy be a light for those around us –
for it was the light of a single star that led the Seekers of Wisdom to the Messiah,
Brightened the sky and changed the world.
And it was this Light that filled the magi—with hope and the courage to carry on,
though the way seemed dark.
And it is this Light that now fills us—
And declares that we too are the light of the world! (Matthew 5:14, Ephesians 5:8)
The Light of Jesus continues to shine, our Bright Morning Star (Revelaton 22:16) who will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 28:20)
… for God so loves the world (John 3:16)
and that is good news for all!
The Light shines in the darkness
The Light shall overcome
Fill all and be all
Come Lord Jesus.