Friday, January 6, 2012

Epiphany and everything changes

“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him… And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod; they returned to their country by another route.” Matthew 2:11-12

In the sixth century, Gregory the Great said, “The wise men teach us also a great lesson in that they went back another way into their country…. Our country is heaven, and when we have once known Jesus, we can never reach it by returning to the way, wherein we walked before knowing Him… Let us, then, depart into our own country by another way.”

An encounter with Jesus changes everything. It did for travel weary Kings. It does for us.

It changes where our journey will end. It changes the road we’ll take to reach it. It changes who we are.

When royal knees hit Judean dirt to worship a King greater than they could even imagine, wise ones experienced a defining moment. Things would be different from that day forward. These astronomers would never look up into the glittering night sky again without remembering the star that led them to the birthplace of a Savior.

As they poured out their priceless treasures of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Him, perhaps God spoke into their hearts and they knew that these gifts were only symbols of a greater sacrifice. Maybe, even then as they gazed at the infant, they sensed that before them was a King who would give everything—his very life, but who would also ask of all who followed him full surrender. 

No, they would never be the same again.

And so it is for us just as it was for the Kings. When we meet Jesus, we can’t go back to the old road, our selfish ways. We’ll have to take a new path of submission to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

One of the meanings that Webster assigns to the word epiphany is “a sudden intuitive realization or perception of reality.”

On that star dazzled night so many years ago, those Kings experienced a reality check of cosmic proportions.

Thankfully, time has not eroded our opportunity to also come and kneel, to surrender to Jesus the King, to offer him the sacrifice of our lives--to experience an epiphany of our own.

May your new year be blessed with just such an epiphany.

Wise Men still seek him here.
Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols here.
Listen to Emmy Lou Harris sing "Star of Bethlehem" here.

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