The very meaning of Epiphany is a revelatory manifestation. And this is a manifestation of serenity to the whole world, as represented in the ethnic diversity of the Magi themselves. Knowing some of the context enables us to savor the irony that God’s serene and secure love could be offered in such a volatile environment. In effect, the Magi are our representatives, and it is a hopeful thing to ponder them and their pilgrimage.
Consider first the arduous journey that they must have made to come to this small, out of the way place. This was a time before reliable maps and paved roads. The Magi could not have called ahead and made reservations. They would encounter strange languages and customs, not to mention risky situations. Extensive travel in the first century was not an easy thing to accomplish, and their willingness to make and complete the journey is an indication of the great importance they placed in it and their commitment to it.
Another thing characteristic of the Magi that emerges is their openness, their willingness to seek out what they do not yet fully understand, and to embrace it once it is discovered. How easy it is for us to overlook the transcendent God who so frequently comes to us in such unobtrusive disguised : in the form of bread and wine or as a small and vulnerable babe.
There were also costs associated with the journey of Magi. Not merely the costs of voyage itself, though that must have been very dear to them. But also the most exotic and costliest gifts available which they will offer to the Lord.
We might ask, ” why all the trouble to take the journey?” The answer is as simple as it is profound: to see the Lord , to gaze upon the One who came to be the world’s hope.
In this season, let us ponder anew the significance of this ancient story. Let us remember that there are two ways in which we may search for Jesus. We may search for him as did the wise men of old, with commitment, openness, and generosity. Or, we may seek him out as did Herod, with a paranoid suspicion that he may displace us from the feeble thrones we have erected. We may seek him with the question:,what will he take from me? Or, with the question: what may I offer him?
May God bless you all
Your brother in Christ