The Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord marks the end of the Christmas season. What a wonderful way to finish off this season which we often connect with gift giving! The readings at Mass reflect on the story of wise men coming from the East to come and find the newborn king and do him homage.
Often, we reflect on these wise men, how did they know? Who were they? Why would they come? How did they feel when they found him in a manger? Did they still want to give their gifts?
Many reflect that the wise men coming from outside of Israel represent that the Messiah was for all people not just the “chosen people”.
In the atrium, we reflect with the youngest children about the wonderous events surrounding the birth of the child promised by the prophets. Isaiah tells us that he will have “the government on his shoulders and his name will be wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting father and Prince of peace” (Isaiah 9:6) and the book of Numbers says that a “star will come out of Jacob and a sceptre will rise out of Israel” (Numbers 24:17).
We ponder about who this child is born in a stable to a young mother? Who is he whose birth is announced even in the stars? Who is this child that visitors travel so far to greet?
The wise men or magi had been watching and waiting. They noticed the signs, perhaps before the people of Israel.
We ponder: How did they feel when they finally found him?
As the children get a little older we go deeper.
We often reflect on the plan of God;
“A plan has always existed in the mind of God, the aim of which is to bring humankind to the full enjoyment of God.” (Sofia Cavalletti, History of the Kingdom of God, Part 1, From Creation to Parousia, 1)
We may look at the gifts given to the baby. What kind of gifts do we normally give to newborn babies? Not the gifts given by the magi. What use were gold, frankincense and myrrh to a small child? Could they mean something more?
Did the magi know something more about this child? Did they know who he really was?
Consider gold, a gift fit for a king. What kind of king was this baby? King of what? King of who?
Frankincense, an offering to God. Did they know he was the Son of God?
Myrrh, used to anoint one who dies. A strange gift for someone beginning their life. Perhaps it may mean that this child would die, just like everyone else. He was human like us.
Who was this child? Who did he come for?