Wednesday January 6, 2010
Wednesday January 6, 2010
by Rev. Dr. Jo Hudson
Rector & Senior Pastor
The Magi entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2: 11
Today, January 6, is the Feast of Epiphany, the day the Church remembers the visitation of the Magi, also known as the Day of the Three Kings. However, Epiphany is more than a day; it is a season. In the next six weeks, we will hear the Gospel stories that remind us how God was manifest in Jesus Christ and can be manifest in us as well.
Take a moment today to remember the scripture telling about the visit of the Magi. They came with the first three gifts of Christmas, gifts fit for a king. Yet for the writer of the Gospel of Matthew, each gift seems to have carried with it symbolic meaning to teach us about who this child was and what these gifts might mean to each of us.
The first gift was gold. Gold meant that the child was born blessed, yet it would be this child who would in turn bless us and our world. Perhaps gold is at the manger for all of us, children of God, a reminder that we are all blessed at our births. The second gift was frankincense, a pungent perfume from which we get our word “incense.” Frankincense was the stuff of worship, mystery and awe, and it reminds us that this child would be a priest, a link for us between God and human life. Perhaps frankincense was at the manger to remind us to be grateful for lives that are both human and eternal. Then there was the last gift of Christmas: myrrh, a rare ointment used for preparing bodies for burial. An odd gift, don’t you think? Doesn’t it seem strange to you that these wisdom teachers from the East brought oil for anointing the dead to the birth of a child? Perhaps it was the writer’s way of foreshadowing the fate of the child, or perhaps it was a signal to all of us who would come afterward, following in the way of Jesus, that we would be blessed not only at our births, but also at our deaths.
We have just entered a new year and a new beginning. In these early days of the year, I invite you to join me in reflecting on and contemplating this ancient story that tells us that our births, our lives, and even our deaths are anointed and blessed by God. I hope to see you this Sunday at the Cathedral of Hope-Dallas, when we will dive head first into another epiphany moment, the baptism of Jesus, a moment when we remember our own baptisms and give God thanks and praise.
Holy One, come again into my life; break into my everyday living and claim me as your own. Let me be filled once again, with the wonder and mystery that is your love and grace. Amen.