This series of reflections will run through to the feast of candlemas on Feb 2nd.
Star of wonder
Star of light
Star with royal beauty bright
Guide us to thy perfect light.
In Western Christianity, the feast of Epiphany commemorates principally (but not solely) the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child, and thus Jesus’ physical manifestation to the Gentiles. It is sometimes called Three Kings’ Day, and in some traditions celebrated as Little Christmas. The feast of the Epiphany, in some denominations, also initiates the liturgical season of Epiphanytide (which ends at Candlemas – the presentation of Jesus in the temple).
Many versions of the Bible refer to the magi as the Wise Men. It was a common belief that when a world leader like a king was born that a special stellar phenomenon would appear in the sky. The Magi saw something that convinced them that they had seen the long-awaited sign. Historians tell us that the Jews, the Romans, and the Persians were all watching the skies about that time, looking for signs of the birth of an extraordinary king. A few years before, around 11 BC, Halley’s Comet had been seen. There were other stellar phenomena, including a bright star, Sirius, which appeared brightly in the daytime instead of at night. The Wise Men saw the star and began their journey.
As we begin a journey of exploring the magi and the role they play in the biblical narrative –
What do you already know?
What is actually recorded in the bible and what is culturally accepted myth?
Almighty and everlasting God, creator of time and space of season and epoch, of birth and evolution of both living creatures and galaxies alike, hear us as we humbly come before you as we mark our brief passage of time as another year begins. We have heard the Christmas story, about how you came to live among us. As we try to understand what this means in our lives we pray that you will guide our life journeys.