Epiphany: The Wise Men Have Arrived
Happy new Year! Can you believe that we have entered a new year and that 2023 is over and in our rearview mirror?! I can’t believe it….it seems like just yesterday we were celebrating the arrival of 2023. With the start of the New Year, many people will make what is called a “New Year’s Resolution,” and these resolutions usually are things that motivate a person to do something better to better themselves. Some say they are going to exercise more, eat healthier, be more productive, spend more time with family and friends, and try not to get in trouble.
These are all good resolutions, but God needs us to make resolutions that help us follow Him and trust Him more in our life. God wants us to read the Bible more, study His word, find ways to act like Jesus, love our friend like we love ourselves, be nice and kind and compassionate, and try our best to do what Jesus would do. And these sorts of resolutions begin by reminding ourselves of these three famous people who brought Jesus gold, frankincense, and myrrh a few years after Jesus was born because they chose to follow God’s directions. Do you know who I am talking about? That’s right; I am talking about the three Wise Men or Magi! When the Wise Men appeared to Jesus, we call that moment “Epiphany” because when they arrived Jesus made himself known to even more people: Jesus, from above, manifested himself in the presence of all people. We call Jesus’ Epiphany his appearance. Let me help you understand this a little better.
Have you ever taken a trip? What kinds of things help you prepare to travel? Do your parents use something to help find their way? Maybe you use a map…there are many different kinds of maps: you might have a big road map that shows you which highways to take if you’re driving somewhere. Maybe you go to an amusement park or a small place, and you get a map that shows you how to get around. Or you might go hiking and get a little guide that helps you follow trails and not get lost. You might also use a compass that points to the North to show you where things are. Well, these days a lot of people have electronic versions called a GPS, so all you have to do is tell it where you want to go, and you can get turn by turn directions and even voice commands that guide you along your way!
Consider this, though: have you ever followed a STAR for guidance? Has the night sky told you where and how to go? That probably sounds a little strange, doesn’t it? Well, a long time ago, a little bit after Jesus was born, God sent some special visitors to Him. There were men who lived far away, and they had studied Scripture and watched stars. They knew that God had promised to send a Messiah to rescue people. We sometimes call them “Wise Men” or “Magi.” These men saw a brilliant star shining in the sky, brighter than any other star.
They knew this was something important, and they believed God sent the star to show them where to find the Messiah. They traveled a long way to find the place the star led, and they finally found Him. Well, they first came to Jerusalem and saw King Herod (there’s another story there…), and then made their way to where Jesus was. When they found Him with Mary and Joseph, they gave Him special gifts: valuable gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They knew Jesus was important and wanted to honor Him. They were willing to take risks, sacrifice their time and money, and go to a lot of hard work to find the Messiah, and trusted God to lead them.
Well, we may not have brightly shining stars to guide us, but we do have a special instruction manual to show us where to go: we have map. Do you know what map God has given us for direction? God has given His word, the Bible, for us to follow. It is our compass, map, and recipe for life! (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth) When we read the Bible and seek to understand what it says, we can better understand what God tells us and what ways we should live our lives. Just like a compass always points North, the Bible points to Christ.
All of its stories are true, and they guide us to Jesus just like the star guided the Wise Men. So whatever else we look to for direction, let’s look to the Bible for spiritual guidance. Ask God to help you understand the Bible. Study it, put it in your heart, and remember its significance. It will never steer you wrong! So this year, be like the Wise Men and make your New Year’s Resolution a resolution to follow God. Trust Him. Love Him. Follow Him. and Believe in Him. He will never lead you astray but will always lead you to Christ.
Epiphany is a special day but sometimes an over looked day on the Christian calendar. Gifts aren’t handed out to commemorate this day. Candles aren’t blown out, cakes aren’t made, fireworks are not on display, and people aren’t staying up until midnight the night before to celebrate Epiphany. Epiphany is just another day for some people, but for us—for those who have chosen to follower Christ—it is a special day because it commemorates and celebrates Jesus being in our life. Celebrate Epiphany by choosing to follow God! Let Us pray…
You are the light that guides our way. Help us to read your word, to understand what it means, and obey your directions. Thank you for your instruction. Thank you for your love. We love you, God! In Jesus name, Amen!
Your Friend, Holy Spirit!
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