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Epiphany, What Gift Will You Bring?

January 5, 2019

It was certainly a gift to be present when this Moose Calf was nursing. Mama was patient for a bit, but then pushed the calf aside. I guess weaning time can be difficult for all of God’s children! 

As Isaiah says in the opening verse of the reading from the Prophets for tomorrow: Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. (Isaiah 60:1)

Tomorrow is the Feast of the Epiphany. Whether it is the three Wise Kings of the Hymn (We Three Kings of Orient Are) or the Shepherds from Christmas Eve, we celebrate the wonder and awe of Jesus’s birth. The gift of love that came down at Christmas. Christ has come to Earth! Christ Jesus has left the heavenly realms and taken on our flesh and lived among us!

When Denise and I spent time hanging out with the Moose family in the Rocky Mountain National Park this past Fall, we were given a precious gift. In addition to spending some time with Mama Moose and her Calf, we also got to spend time with Papa Moose as he enjoyed some peace and quiet in the meadow.

Yes, it truly was a gift to be able to spend time with this family in our literal back yard. The awe, the majesty, the intimacy, the wonder of it all.

When the Magi came to Bethlehem to find the source of the light, they found Jesus with his family. A small child was with his parents. After following a Star they thought would lead them to a King, a mighty Ruler, one of their own! But instead, they found a humble child who’s parents were a carpenter and a young woman.

That, dear reader, is the beauty of the Christmas story. A humble birth, in a humble home instead of in a magnificent palace. Sometimes I know for myself, I look for Jesus in all of the wrong places. He isn’t in the magnificent cathedrals of the sort I explored and led worship in during my time in England. He isn’t in the normal (according to society) places you would expect to find a King. He is instead, found in the midst of the messiness of life. That is where he meets you and he meets me.

The Kings, according to the story, brought him gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. What was the gift this little child brought to the world? He brought Love! Love in the face of oppression. Love in the face of fear. Light in the face of darkness. Hope in the face of despair.

As I have walked with this story during the week, I have wandered and wondered. The question I keep coming back to is this: What gift will I bring? What will I bring to Jesus and what is Jesus calling me to do with this gift?

As I ponder and wonder, I keep coming back to Howard Thurman’s poem, The Work of Christmas:

When the song of the angels is stilled,

When the star in the sky is gone,

When the kings and princes are home,

When the shepherds are back with their flock,

The work of Christmas begins:

To find the lost,

To heal the broken,

To feed the hungry, To release the prisoner,

To rebuild the nations,

To bring peace among brothers [and sisters],

To make music in the heart.

My prayer, dear reader is this… May we come to the Lord with hearts willing to do the work of Christmas. May this be a gift we bring to the altar and then take out into the streets. Will you join me!

  1. I’ve always like the song that goes with Howard Thurman’s Christmas poem “I Am the Light of the World” by Jim Strathdee. Thanks for your good words.

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