Jesus: The Early Years ~ Happy Epiphany!

Sunday’s Scripture ~ Matthew 2:1-12

At Reeves the children have been anxiously anticipating the arrival of the Wise Men since the beginning of Advent.

Yep…that was 6 weeks ago…

I don’t have many pet peeves when it comes to Scripture…but the “harmony” that tends to happen with the Nativity story is one of them.  Yes, I know that nativity sets come complete with wise men.  And yes, the wise men have been in my personal nativity scene since I set it out during Advent.

But

I know that the wise men arrive at Epiphany rather than showing up with the shepherds the night Christ was born.

So to teach this lesson to the kiddos at Reeves we played “Where’s Waldo Wise Men” each week during the Children’s Moment since the beginning of Advent and we will conclude it this Sunday.

Can you guess where the wise men will be this week?!?!

Weekly the children received a “text message” from the wise men – yes…they are quite cutting edge and technologically advanced – that included clues about where they were on their pilgrimage to Bethlehem.  Each week the wise men made their way closer and closer to the creche.

This week they arrive and present their gifts to the Christ child.

As I think of the wise men presenting their gifts, I am reminded of a field trip I took during elementary school to the Polk Theatre to view the play The Gift of the Magi.  I remember expecting the wise men to be there…I knew all about that story.  But this was another story of love and giving…and more so of sacrifice…and I think it is equally fitting for us as celebrate Epiphany.

(You can read the full text here…I will summarize.)

Jim and Della loved one another very much.  Their love was their greatest treasure.  They did not have very much money, but each wanted to give the other a special Christmas gift.  Della had long beautiful hair; she decided she would cut and sell her hair in order to have money to purchase Jim a chain for his golden watch.  That night when Jim returned home he was astonished to see Della had cut her hair.  He handed Della a slim package – her Christmas present.  She opened it to find two beautiful hair combs.  He confessed that he sold his watch to purchase the combs.  Della confessed that she cut and sold her hair to purchase his gift, the watch chain.

Each made a sacrifice for one they loved out of love.

From the wise men we have the tradition of giving and receiving gifts.  From The Gift of the Magi we learn that true wise men [wise people] are those that give freely and wholly and lovingly and sacrificially, not withholding anything.

Reflection: We see again and again throughout Holy Scripture people giving so that others may have and we see the blessings that follow this giving and receiving.  In this new year what gift might God be leading us to give our partners, our children, our family members, our co-workers, our neighbors that we will experience greater blessings?  How might God be leading us to live a life marked by giving freely and wholly and lovingly and sacrificially, not withholding anything?  How might God be calling us to continue the legacy of the magi all year long?

Prayer: Teach us how to give, O God, as you give, openly, freely, generously, and then to find, as we always do, that you have replenished what was given, and more besides; for your openness, freedom, and generosity are far more than we have any right to expect, and we thank you, through Christ our Lord.  Amen.  ~ by John Killinger

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