Three Kings Day
Did you know? The unofficial last day to return that unwanted Christmas present is January 6. By now, most people have finally given up and quit that last New Year’s resolution. No fancy lights, no tinsel; all the holiday decorations are packed away. January 6, the 12th day of Christmas (you can count them), the day your true love gives you 12 Drummers drumming.
To the church, January 6 is Epiphany, the day to celebrate the arrival of the 3 Wise Men. Stories say they were Kings from the Orient, but not likely. We know little about them. They might have been a priest from Persia, a magi from Egypt or a Sultan from India? They must have been wealthy and have the time and dedication to travel. Maybe astrologers, they set out to follow a star; a special star God placed in the heavens. Tradition says there were 3 Wise Men because of the 3 gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh. Their names might have been Gaspar, Balthazar and Melchior, ages 20, 40, and 60; but we don’t know. They walked by day and by night, over dusty and rocky roads.
Without guides or maps, mistakes were made as they traveled. Some preachers smiling said, wise women would have better made the journey. Wise women would have started out earlier, asked directions along the way, and arrived on time. They would have assisted with the baby’s birth. They would have swept and sanitized the stable. Wise women would have given the family gifts that a newborn baby could really use.
King Herod did not travel when Jesus was born but wanted the wise men to reveal the baby’s location. The scribes who knew the Old Testament prophecies did not come. The people of Jerusalem decided not to make the 6-mile trip. Only the Wise Men from the East put up with the inconveniences and endured the difficulties. Led by the God sent star, they found the town and the place of the manger. They bowed down to worship the baby, Jesus and accorded honors to the Savior.
Epiphany is defined as a revealing; a manifestation; or as an enlightenment. It is known as the Gentile Christmas because when Jesus was born only the Jewish folk knew. Mary and Joseph were Jewish. The priests were Jewish and the shepherds that responded to the angel were Jewish. Epiphany is the day we celebrate the Wise Men. Jesus meeting the world. God, going on record, telling all of us His Son, our Savior, has come to give Himself as the sacrifice to win freedom, forgiveness and salvation for all people.
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