Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1–2
Heavenly Father, King of kings, your ways are mysterious and the anticipated appearance and manifestation, as the Son of Man, born of human flesh, was not the manner in which the people awaited the prophesied Messiah, particularly, the coming of a divine being. Your plan of salvation for mankind was an illuminating discovery, for those who witnessed your coming. It was the arrival in the poorest of poor circumstances, one that was totally unexpected.
Epiphany marks your first manifestation as Jesus, to all peoples of the world. It signals that your love is universal and unconditional, not limited to a few races but available to all men who accept the truth. Your plan of salvation includes Gentiles too. It encompasses people of every caste and creed who listen and recognize the voice of God.
It is a celebration of the breaking down of dividing walls, and the end of hostilities between groups of people. It challenges us to reconsider all the people whom we see as outside the boundaries of God’s love. It challenges us to abandon our shortsightedness and limited approach and to expand and extend our love to everyone, welcoming even those whom we would prefer not to love. That is the Epiphany message you gave us.
Shepherd and king alike, were visited by heavenly hosts and given the glad tidings of the coming of their Redeemer, a long-awaited event, bringing to an end man’s slavery to sin, showing how Christ enriches all those who bring him their hearts. The Magi came with joy in their hearts to see the Christ child, and God allowed them to see him and present him with extravagant gifts and they left, filled with the grace and peace of the child Jesus.
But what would transpire when this little babe achieved manhood, how he would be sent to his death by the very mankind awaiting his coming with bated breath, was not foreseen. We praise in great exultation your magnificent love for your creation whom you delivered and restored to yourself, and will continue to worship our God, in Jesus’ Name. Amen