Does that line above remind you of having read it before? I must admit it is the same line I used in my column for this feast a few years ago. It just seemed to fit so perfectly, not only for our celebration of Epiphany but because of what the Epiphany challenges us to do: make Jesus known to everyone around us. It fits with our call to share in the mission to make our Savior Jesus better known in the lives of all we know and love, and all those we shall meet during this new year and have the opportunity to bring closer to Christ. That’s the challenge of epiphany and it remains for us to accept the challenge!
The story of Epiphany relates the visit of three men called wise men who come in search of the newborn king. They have heard that a new king has been born and they are fascinated with the idea of finding where he is and coming to pay homage to him. The story tells us that they followed an unusually bright star in the sky and this star led them to the remote little village of Bethlehem and the place where this newborn king would be found. And so, he was. These wise seekers bring beautiful gifts to the king Jesus and fall and do him homage.
Before they had found where Jesus was, they visited with the king, Herod, who told them to get information and then return to tell him so he could go and do homage as well. Of course, an angel intervened and told the seekers to return home by a different route and forget about going back to the king. They followed this warning, returned home and the rest is history. Perhaps they were among the first to spread the word that ‘We have a Savior and his name is Jesus’.
That was then and here we are now, centuries later but the challenge is still the same. The real purpose of Epiphany, making manifest the Savior of the world, presents us with the challenge which still, so desperately needs to be fulfilled. The Savior grew up and left us, for one thing, with marvelous stories of how we should live, with one another and how we should respect one another, take care of one another, and when needed, to forgive one another.
We don’t have to travel far to fulfill this call; we don’t have to look for clues or hints as to how we ought to do it, it’s all so very simple. People are all around us, strangers and loved ones, people we have known, perhaps for all our lives, and newcomers into our lives, whether they be new neighbors, or co-workers, it makes in difference. That line that I used at the start of this article is from a book by Max Lucado, entitled “Because of Bethlehem”, a wonderful book of reflections and lessons on the wonder of Christmas and its meaning. There is another wonderful line from that book that tells us why God made us. It reads, “God made you on purpose and with a purpose”. One of those purposes is to share in the work of bringing salvation to all mankind. With God there are no mistakes, no accidents. Everything and everyone have a purpose and a mission. God needs each one of us to help spread his love to all around us. This is our mission. Let’s get at it!
I wish all of you my very best wishes for a Happy and ‘HEALTHY’ New Year.