Tomorrow morning we celebrate “The Epiphany of Our Lord,” which we generally shorten to just Epiphany. Epiphany means “manifestation” and within the church it marks both the end of Christmas and the transition into a season during which we’ll hear stories about the significance and the meaning of God’s manifestation in the world in the person of Jesus.
In the gospel reading we’ll hear on Sunday, strange and powerful outsiders come to Bethlehem with unexpected gifts for the newborn Christ. This infant, seen as God’s gift to the world by the wise seekers, is seen as a threat by Herod who worries about losing his throne to “the newborn king.”
The gifts of God are all around us. They come in unexpected packages, in the least likely of forms. Invariably they point towards the inbreaking reign of God – which means that they signal a change in the way things have been. As we peel back the wrappings in which God has hidden the gifts scattered amongst us we are challenged to hear the call to change as the wise visitors from afar did – as a precious gift instead of a threatening challenge to our power– and then to take the journey of our lives.