This weekend we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany. The story of the Magi, or wise men. Their story is told only by Matthew, and much of what we think about them has been added to Matthew’s brief description through traditions and stories that attempt to fill in the blanks. It can be easy for us to look at them and envision in our mind a group of men in flamboyant Arabian robes riding on camels, dropping by on Christmas night to deliver their gifts to the infant, then riding back off into the sunrise the following morning. The reality of their experience was likely very different.
In reflecting on them it strikes me how different the experience of their encounter with Christ is from what I have come to expect; and how I have much to learn from them. First, their desire to experience His presence took them on a long journey, one that required them to have faith in things they did not fully understand. No doubt they met with difficult conditions along the way, yet they persevered. My excuses to not make the 5 minute drive to church in a heated truck seem pretty lame compared to their journey.
Second, they brought gifts from the best they had: gold, frankincense and myrrh. Different gifts from a different time, but what do I bring to offer Jesus in terms of resources, worship, and service?
Third and most strikingly, they come to bring gifts and to worship. They don’t have a single request. They come, offer their gifts, and bow down in worship.
January can also be a time of resolutions. As I think about the Magi, my resolution for this year is to try to be a little more like them. To put a little more effort into seeking Jesus in my life, and to offer the best I can in resources, worship and service. And, lastly, to spend a little more time giving glory to God, not coming with my list of requests, but simply coming to offer praise.
Deacon Phil Paladino