As we move into the New Year, we celebrate the Epiphany. The Epiphany is better known as the coming of the wise men. It is a separate celebration from Christmas because the wise men didn’t come until much later, about two years after the birth of Jesus. By this time Jesus was living in a house. The wisemen had seen the star of Bethlehem and believed it heralded the birth of a great king. So they organized a journey west to visit him. When they arrived they found the toddler Jesus and gave him expensive gifts of gold and spices. These gifts were given to honor Jesus, but they also served to support Jesus, and pay for travel to Egypt so that Jesus could grow up in safety, protected from Herod.
As we celebrate the New Year, let’s think about how we honor Jesus with our gifts. Part of that gifting is monetary, but on a deeper level, how do we use our talents and abilities for Jesus? The mission of Jesus depends on our willingness to use our talents in the work of the church.
A second thing to think about it is that Jesus spent some of his early childhood as an immigrant in a foreign land. His family took him there for asylum – to be protected from Herod, the unjust and violent leader of Palestine. What might that fact say about our attitudes about immigration? If Jesus’ family became immigrants, perhaps we can open our hearts to those who need the protection of our country from unjust rulers.
We all need each other in the human family. Jesus’ family needed monetary assistance and to be welcomed as strangers. During this Epiphany season, let us consider how we might provide help and welcome to the strangers in our lives.
Blessings on your New Year,