This week, Epiphany is recognized by Christians all over the world. It is a day marking the arrival of the Magi at the manger in Bethlehem, Jesus’ baptism by John, and often, the miracle of the wedding at Cana when Jesus turned water into wine. Epiphany is the church’s means of recognizing God as taking human form – as Jesus. For some, it signifies the true end of the Christmas season, while others of us have already cleaned up and tucked our Christmas decorations away for the year.
Epiphany is about recognizing the gifts given to Jesus by royalty from distant lands. It is about generosity, it is about faith, it is about mystery and the unknown. It speaks to the future while recognizing the present. The Magi had an idea of who Jesus would become as King of kings, bringing gifts that spoke to his future as Savior, while protecting him from the dangerous motives of Herod. With the gold, Mary and Joseph were able to take their baby boy to Egypt, protecting him. With the frankincense and myrrh, the Magi foretold the death of Jesus in adulthood, as those elements were commonly used in burial rituals. Such gifts had value beyond measure, and while they were not practical gifts for the immediate needs of the baby, they were certainly gifts beyond measure.
What gifts have you received that were beyond measure? Was it a kind word when you needed it most? An offer of time to help with a project that was overwhelming? A visit from a friend when you were lonely? What gifts can you offer that are beyond measure?