Gospel Reading and Thoughts for January 4, 2015

Feast of the Epiphany

Gospel – Matthew 2:1-12

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod,

behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,

“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”

When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet:

And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; epiphany

since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.”

Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.

He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child.

When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.”

After their audience with the king they set out.

And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.

They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother.

They prostrated themselves and did him homage.

Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.

 

This Feast of the Epiphany marks the end of the Christmas season. Even though many people tear down all the decorations and toss the tree to the curb on December 26th, we are in the middle of the Twelve Days of Christmas until this Sunday. Even the stores have already started putting out Valentine candy! I’m not sure why our culture is in such a rush to get rid of the holiday season (perhaps since they have been celebrating since before Halloween!), but many people also tend to forget the joy of Christ’s birth very quickly. We should still be celebrating the amazing Christmas gift that God gave to us – His Son in the form of a newborn baby.

The gift of His Son is made even more poignant when we think of the gifts that the three kings bestowed upon the Christ child on this Feast of the Epiphany.

Gold – a treasure fit only for kings

Frankincense – incense used to pay homage to God

Myrrh – a fragrant perfume used for anointing someone’s body upon death

In these three gifts, we celebrate Christ’s kingship, his divinity, and his great sacrifice for all of us!

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