Sunday, January 23, 2011


Epiphany is 12 days after Christmas and it  marks the three wise men's arrival. First they came to Jeruslaem (see Mathew 2) and then after consulting with Herod & Co. they were redirected to Bethelhem.

The wise men asked "Where is he born King of the Jews."  Herod, the sly old devil, wanted them to tell him where this Christ baby was..."bring me word again that I may come and worship him also." Mathew 2:8 Of course his intention was not to worship but to kill this perceived rival to his power.

The wise men then got on their camels and proceeded to follow the star to Bethelem and they rejoiced and found Mary his mother and fell down and worshipped the Christ child.  (please note this correction from former blog of the location).

One of my favorite carols from ages ago..."we three men of orient are..bearing gifts we travel afar...field and fountan...etc. following yonder star." It may have been months or even years on their journey to worship the King of the Jews.

We always like the part about gifts: gold, frankinsense and myrrh. (Mathew 2:11)  However, there was another gift they all brought together. That was their total intent to find and worship this King. They left home, they had a very uncomfortable journey..they only had the star as evidence that they really were getting somewhere. God warned the wise men in a dream not to return to Herod. So they went back to their country another way.

What gift did they receive for this journey? They got to see the Christ child and they rejoiced with great joy.  Like divers finding a treasure trove after years of searching, they found what they set out to find. They didn't have the gold, the myrrh or the frankincense but they had two great gifts.

One: they had JOY.  Joy came with the worship of the little King of the Jews.

The second gift they had was GUIDANCE.  God himself warned them in a dream to go back another way.  They now had not an external star but the internal wisdom of God to set their course towards home.

Ephiphany has come to mean revelation. When you find the right journey, when you come to the right city, when you find the true one to worship, you will know why it was worth the trip.


Have you ever received a gift that just made you want to shout and sing?

Imagine the City of Newark, New Jersey getting a generous check from a business ENOUGH TO REVAMP THE ENTIRE SCHOOL DISTRICT.  Now that is what is a gift to a city.

All of us like to think that we are generous.  Especially we like to think at Christmas that we are really giving to loved ones and ones in need and to churches, etc. But, soon that can pass and we become a bit more ourselves i.e. thinking about our own needs.

Think for a moment on the most generous thing that any human being has ever given to you.
it might not be monetary.  It might be time, friendship, or something really different.

 The wise men came bearing gifts for the Christ child.  They went first to Jerusalem and then were redirected (notice this correction) to the little town of Bethlehem where they found under the star that had stopped what they had longed for for months and years.  They found a gift that was so precious that they returned back home with that JOY that wasn't going to leave.  They took time to seek and find and to give gifts to this Child.

One day a poor widow put a few pennies into the offering and Jesus told his disciples she gave more than all the others because she gave what she had to live on.

God sees what we give and what we don't give. God never forces because what He wants from us is not our stuff but our love. However, if our stuff is an idol, it has to go.

Generosity. Think about it.  How can you express your love to God by sharing?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Waiting? or Waiting on God

I find the first of the year difficult.  It is a time where we make all kinds of choices that will make a difference in how we look, feel and who we serve.  The worldly focus is usual on self. Am I exercised enough, rich enough, disciplined enough.

Notice the 'I's.

One way to really get into trouble in our walk is to think IT ALL DEPENDS ON US.

Back to the Christmas story, after Christmas.
Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus have to wait until it is time to go up to Jerusalem for the offering.
They have two rather strange characters one an old man and one an old woman confirm that Jesus is the redemption of Israel.

The wise men come to Jerusalem, not Bethlehem. Gifts are given and then they depart another way home.

The taxes are paid, the baby is circumcised according to the law.
Still the young couple lingers..waiting not on what they want but on what God’s plan is for them.

It certainly isn’t what they thought. Joseph has a dream in which he is told to “flee” to Egypt because Herod is going to try to kill the baby.

What if they had not waited and listened to God? I wonder if God looks down at times and thinks ... if only they had waited for me instead of making their own choices.

Waiting isn’t easy. It is lonely, hard work and sometime we feel “lost”. Never mind. God never will lose his sheep. He knows where we are heading. We don’t.

May January find you waiting for your marching orders ... not your own but the Lord’s.