The feast of Epiphany is upon us. And the feast is all about us! This is the celebration when the Savior is shown to the rest of the world – to all those who are non-Jews. And so, the three kings return today, as they do each year. Why is the story retold again and again? Perhaps because it is about us. At Christmas we all become a little child-like, and we want to see and be seen by everyone around. We want to be where the action is and to be part of it. Each year these three enigmatic men show up at the time of Christ’s birth to join in the celebration of that time long ago when a star led them to the holiest night. Most of what we know about the three kings, or wise men from the East, is legend. These beautiful stories may be only partially true or they may be totally true. However, the kings are securely set in our scriptures, and their legends embellish the wondrous story. (Most kings, it would seem, would love to be subject of legend.)
Who are these kings for us today? Are they only the last three figures to place in the table-top manger scene before we take the whole thing apart and box it up again? Hopefully they mean more to us. After all, they are the Magi – men from among us, perhaps religious leaders, perhaps learned men, or the scientists of their day. They had heard that a specific king, a king of kings, was to come. He would be heralded by a sign in the heavens. When they saw an unusual star arise, together they discerned this sign of the times and concluded that the star must be followed. Imagine the inner strength of these men: they truly were wise – wise enough to be humble. Have we learned this approach to the Savior? Or do we stop at our own wisdom, thinking our way out of following the signs that lead to Christ? Perhaps we begin and end with what we think is humility: I can’t come because I’m not worthy.
Take time to look at the lesson of the Magi. Come with a mind open to Truth, a will desiring the holiness of God, and a heart yearning to meet the Promised One. Come, let us return to the King.