The Christmas Cycle that began with the First Sunday of Advent (November 30) will end with the Epiphany (Manifestation) of the Lord, after the twelve days of Christmas on January 6. According to United Methodist Book of Worship, the Epiphany “was an even more ancient celebration among Christians than Christmas, originally focused on the nativity, incarnation, and baptism of Christ” (UM Book of Worship p. 295). Today we celebrate the coming of the three wise men (Magi) who brought gifts to the Christ child while the rest of the world was still in the dark. The gold, frankincense, and myrrh are gifts fit for a king in a story where the real king is hidden to all except those with eyes and hearts to see him. This child is God’s gift to us all; in turn he brings out the treasures hidden deep within us.
What gift would you bring to the Christ child?
You notice in this season of Advent and Christmas we have placed a small wooden treasure chest on the prayer candle table in the front of the sanctuary, thanks to Becky Buxton. It’s a visible reminder that the baby Jesus is God’s Simple Gift to humanity. And the fact that the Love that came down on Christmas transforms us and makes us become gifts to the world. So you’ve been filling the treasure chest with your prayers:
What gift would you want to be to your family, your neighbor, the world in this Christmas?
On the Epiphany Sunday (January 4) we will offer the treasure chest filled with your prayers as our gifts to the Christ child. What a wonderful way will it be to begin our new year! Artists use the epiphany to mean a sudden esthetic illumination. Christians use the word to mean a spiritual illumination. Suddenly, the true nature of our being is revealed. Through the love and grace of God revealed in Christ we realize what a precious treasure we are. This ordinary human being with a fragile body, with all the emotional scars over the years, with all the successes and failures, with all the shortcomings and doubts about self, about life, within me, within you, is a treasure, the divine radiance, the wellspring of eternal life, the object of God’s unending, unconditional, loving, as unique and precious as you, as me.
The magi brought the treasures from afar to the Christ child.
Christ brings out the treasures from the depth of our being.
“Trust this good news!” ((Mark 1:15).