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What Took So Long?

January 6, 2021

“In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.'” Matthew 2:1-2

Me: “Good morning! Happy Epiphany!”

Child: “What’s that again?”

Me: “Today is the day we celebrate the star leading the Magi to Bethlehem so they could worship Jesus.”

Child: “Oh, yeah. What took them so long?”

I am certain that some variation of this conversation happens each year in my house. Perhaps because Epiphany tends to be overshadowed by January 5, the birthday of Oshki the stuffed dog. The confusion is a reminder that we have long conflated the Christmas narratives from Matthew and Luke. Not only does this do a bit of a disservice to children (given the normal narrative presented in culture and even in church, it’s hardly their fault they think the Magi were there with the shepherds), it also obscures some of the story’s power.

It likely took the Magi nearly two years to reach Bethlehem, not just the twelve days we appoint in the calendar. Unlike the shepherds, their journey took time. It took a great deal of commitment and dedication, too. But they persisted, following the light to the Light.

Our journeys take time, too. At times, the light is hard to see. What’s taking so long? But God is working out God’s promises and purposes. The light is shining. Our job is to be faithful, to keep moving.

Blessed Epiphany! If you’re looking for a way to worship this morning, check out this excellent service prepared by the Center for Christian Education in Martin, Slovakia. So nice to see good friends in this way!

Be well, friends. You are loved.

God of light, as your star led the Magi to Christ, lead us into your presence today. Where there is darkness, bring light. Where there is falsehood and deceit, bring truth. Where there is violence, bring peace. Let your light shine! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: Oshki’s birthday, January 5, 2018.

From → COVID-19

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