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  • Writer's pictureJoseph A. Bias

A Word About Epiphany


Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” Matthew 2:1

 

God so love the world - mankind and all created things - that He gave His only begotten Son…that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but they would have everlasting life. [John. 3:16} God gave His Son so the world might be saved through Him.

 

The first Christmas Gift was a man, born as a baby in Bethlehem.

 

Jesus our Lord is God’s eternal and priceless, matchless, uncontainable, unfathomable GIFT to us. And though this, most costly of all gifts, was freely given to us, we are not forced to receive Him.  It is not demanded that we receive Him, nor is He imposed on us against our will. The decision to receive Him or reject Him rests solely with us.  

 

So, now that we are in the season of celebrating His birth, we also remember that Mary and Joseph brought Him to the Temple on the eighth day to be circumcised and presented to the Lord according to the custom of the Law of Moses. 

 

On this 8th day, since His birth what gift can we bring to Him? Since He is the Creator of all things, what can we give Him that is not already His?

 

If we reason by virtue of His commandments, the only things God does not already have is our obedience, our love, and our will to serve Him above all other things. In fact, He created us just the way we are, so that He would not automatically make us obedient to Him. He created us with free will, so much so, that, even if we choose to go to hell, He will not take away from us the right to choose.  Whether it is a choice for life or death, blessing or cursing, the choice is ours.

 

Even in our human frailty we have the power to choose the course of our destiny. Once we make the choice for LIFE, God in His infinite love for us, does not leave us alone to navigate through this life by our human devices alone. He has given us the Holy Spirit to help us. It is the Holy Spirit that is at work in us, both to will and to do of God's good pleasure, moment by moment, day by day.  So, if we choose cursing and death, we do so fully aware of the consequences of our choices.

 

The beginning of this New Year offers us a great opportunity to forget the past and to press on toward the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus. That high calling is our journey and our destination.

So, what can we give to God? The answer is not as mysterious as it may seem. In fact, He told us how we can give to Him in ways that are most pleasing and glorifying to His great name.

 

This Sunday, Churches around the world will celebrate Epiphany by tradition, it being the 12th day after Jesus' birth.  It is believed that from the time they saw the star in the East it took the Wise Men 12 days to journey to Bethlehem and find Jesus. They brought gifts to Him of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gold to crown Him as King, Frankincense by which to worship Him and offer up prayers, praises, and thanksgivings. Myrrh as a symbol of preservation and as a sign of His eternal reign over all the kingdoms of the world, as an everlasting Kingdom. Myrrh was also one of the spices used for preparing the body for burial.  Thus, also signifying that He was born to die for our sins. 

 

What we can bring Him are these: our faith, our mercy toward others, and our obedience and ultimately our love.  These are more pleasing to Him than all our sacrifices. We know also, that faith pleases Him.

 

So, what gifts can we bring to him?

 

He said whatever we do to the least of these we have done to Him.

 

You have taken pity on the poor? 

Then, you have given a gift to Jesus!

 

You have believed Him when there was nothing to hang on but His Word?

Then You have pleased Him.

 

You have loved Him and remained faithful to His Word even when those you love have turned away from Him?  

Then, you have given Him the gift of your faith!

 

You have shown mercy to one who has transgressed God's Law or acted offensively against you to do you harm, but you chose to love a pray for them instead?

Then, you have fulfilled His desire for you.

 

Epiphany commemorates the sealing of the events surrounding the birth of Jesus and the marks the commencement of His being nurtured in the house of Joseph and Mary His mother, being taught by the Lord, and brought up in Nazareth, to be a man, to fulfill His destiny as the Lamb of God Who takes way the sins of the world. 

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