Merry Christmas! As we celebrate the Great Solemnity of the Epiphany, when, guided by a star, the three Wise Men brought gifts to the new born King. Even though in the United States and many other countries, Christmas is the day of great gift-giving and receiving, in other places around the world today is the day when gifts are traditionally given and received. I’ve always been taught that the Solemnity is “Little Christmas” and so let the festivities continue.
Balthazar – Melchior – Casper: three names associated with three regal gifts but is it really the focus of the fact that they brought the infant Jesus the gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh? I would like to focus on the true wisdom they embody. The fact that these three wise men, these three kings followed a star (brightness) to pay homage to this infant King is a testament to the fact that they were able to recognize Greatness Himself. Sure, King Herod had put them up to it: he was nosey and scared that the new born King of the Jews would usurp his power. Of course, Jesus was not that type of King. His throne was the cross; his crown was made of thorns. Had Herod known the type of king Jesus was, perhaps things might have ended differently. Of course, the history of salvation needed to be played out in time; according to God’s plan for us. We still play a part in that history of salvation each and every time we pay homage to the Word Made Flesh whose sole purpose by coming into the world was to free us from sin and death and to liberate us so that we might be truly free to live as sons and daughters of the Most High God.
Undoubtedly, we probably received a gift this year that we either didn’t like; didn’t fit or really didn’t want. The one gift that we are called to love and embrace is the gift of the Son who scatters the darkness so that we can, guided by the brilliance of the star, follow the Son so that one day, we can truly enjoy God’s friendship in His Kingdom where there is no pain, suffering or sadness but the fullness of peace and joy! What a gift we celebrate this Epiphany. It is a gift that is embraced and celebrated by those who are truly wise! May we, like Balthazar, Melchior & Casper, be truly wise and accept the gift of the King who sets us free. May we find him in those who are poor in spirit and in those who suffer in body, mind or spirit. May we bear grateful witness to the King by leading others, those in need, to the glory of the great gift that God has given us: Emmanuel – God with us! Merry Christmas.