Seeing Stars: The Epiphany of Our Lord
Lectionary readings for Epiphany, January 6: Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2: 1-12
“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.” Matthew 2:10, 11
Today is the feast of Epiphany—the day when Christians celebrate the journey of the wise men to find the Christ child and the showing forth of God’s glory in such an unexpected place. The arrival of the wise men in Bethlehem and the homage they paid when they found Jesus in the manger is the culminating event of the Christmas season. Their willingness to leave the familiar and embark on such a perilous journey invites us to our own journey of seeking, finding and encountering God in unlikely ways and in unlikely places.
As the Christmas season slips away and the trappings are stored for another year, the journey of the wise men speaks to us of those moments when we are not satisfied to hear other people’s reports of mysterious revelations. Yes, we have heard news that Christ has come into the world but hearsay is not enough: we want to see and experience him for ourselves! This desire can, if we let it, open up a new kind of journey—one that is alive with the possibility of encountering the mystery of Christ in the unlikely places of our own lives. We, too, can make choices to leave the familiar and follow the Light that is rising in our own hearts, leading us to that place of great joy.
who called the rich to travel toward poverty,
the wise to embrace your folly,
and the powerful to know their own frailty;
who gave strangers
a sense of homecoming in an alien land
and to stargazers
true light and vision as they bowed to earth—
we lay ourselves open to your signs for us…
Rise within us, like a star,
And make us restless
Till we journey forth
To seek our rest in you.
Kate Compston, Bread of Tomorrow
©Ruth Haley Barton, 2011. Feel free to share this article using the buttons below; please do not reproduce and distribute without permission.
Ruth Haley Barton (Doctor of Divinity, Northern Seminary) is founder of the Transforming Center. A teacher, spiritual director, and retreat leader, she is the author of numerous books and resources on the spiritual life including Pursuing God’s Will Together: A Discernment Practice for Leadership Groups (June 2012) and Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership.
As Advent and Christmas come to a close, what has been the fruit of your waiting and watching for the coming of Christ in your own life? What journey is God calling you to now?
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