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[The Blog] @PDCPC - The Celebration of the Epiphany

The Celebration of the Epiphany

Posted by Georgialee Lang on

The Nativity scene is complete when the three Magi from the East bow down to baby Jesus, who slumbers peacefully. Imagine a scene where the  strips of cloth which enveloped baby Jesus are now replaced with a regal robe and a glistening gold crown. Jesus, the light of the world, the sudden manifestation of our Lord to the gentiles, celebrated as The Epiphany. 
Many faith communities celebrate the illumination of Jesus, born a babe and born a king, on the Sunday between January 2 and January 8.  
In Matthew 2: 1-12 we read:
"And when they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And they came into the house and saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered gifts to him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Being warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they went back to their own country another way."
We understand that when the  Magi or Three Kings arrived, Jesus was between one and two years old, still living in Bethlehem. Who were these men who travelled such a long distance and where did they come from?
Theologians believe they came from the areas now known as Iran, Iraq or southern Turkey. The bible doesn’t tell us is if there were three or more, or whether they were kings or not. Some say they were astronomers and astrologers who watched and studied the skies. We know that the word “Magi” is what priests in ancient Persia, now Iran, were called. 
Legend tells us their names were Caspar, reputed to be the King of Sheba; Melchoir, King of Arabia; and Balthazar, King of Tarsus, Macedonia and Egypt.  They knew of a coming Messiah because several hundred years earlier the Jewish people were held captive in the  ancient city of Babylon, 60 miles south of Bagdad, Iraq, an exile that lasted 70 years. 
They brought gifts of gold, representing the majesty of Jesus as the King of Kings; frankincense, an herb often used as incense during worship; and myrrh, a perfume used in burial, signifying Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross. 
The prophecy of David, the psalmist, was revealed:
"May he rule from sea to sea
    and from the River to the ends of the earth.
9 May the desert tribes bow before him
    and his enemies lick the dust.
10 May the kings of Tarshish and of distant shores
    bring tribute to him.
May the kings of Sheba and Seba
    present him gifts.
11 May all kings bow down to him
    and all nations serve him.”
-Psalm 72:8-11
The joy of the Epiphany has not diminished over the thousands of years of celebration and today, more than ever, the reality of a Savior, the Son of God, and the Son of Man, who rules and reigns, continues to bless us, comfort us, and yes, love us. 

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