Christmas is a season, a span of 12 days. In our culture, Christmas is usually treated as a one-day affair–many of us don’t even leave the Christmas tree up until New Year’s Day, much less Epiphany. But Epiphany is a wonderful season and important to the church.
The images of the feast of Epiphany are those of gifts and of light. Think candles and stars, presents and scents. The Three Wise Men journey far to bring their gifts to God’s greatest gift to the world–Christ revealed to all people, all nations.
We’ve probably known the story of the Three Wise Men since childhood. And yet these important men are not the first to greet the holy child. Common working men–shepherds–arrive before them. Already, the first would be last, as Mary sang in the Magnificat. They came laden with such preposterous gifts but were not turned away. Their gifts were probably not needed, but they were accepted and put carefully by, for they were brought with love.
What gifts do we bring to God and to the church–gifts of which we’re proudest–that we think are going to be valuable? And what gifts do we bring that we don’t value or we downplay, but are exactly what’s needed? It reminds us that the things the world teaches us to value are not often the things that God values.