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January 3, 2010: Epiphany of the Lord

Isaiah 60:1-6 Psalm 72; Ephesians 3:2-3a,5-6; Matthew 2:1-12

I remember with some embarrassment the resentment I spoke of in my Christmas reflection, thinking that people who did not believe in Christ should not celebrate Christmas. What could gift-giving and trees and lights mean to them?

And here I am, born on Epiphany, reflecting every year on the journey of the Magi to Bethlehem to bring their gifts — and they weren’t Christians! They weren’t even Jewish! We don’t even know what they were, and we certainly don’t know from scripture that they became Christians later (though part of our tradition holds that they were baptized later, and they are named as saints in an ancient martyrology). But if Christmas was for these pagans — by cosmic invitation from a star! — then must it not follow that Christmas is indeed for everyone?

Listening to a 24-hour Christmas music radio station for a while makes me see that Christmas means many things to many people: peace, family, love, snow, lights, heartbreak, loneliness and so on. The signs and symbols are all around us; maybe as Christians, we need to help bring a bit of focus to the people around us. “Peace on earth; Good will toward all!” isn’t a bad Christmas message!

Who do you know who “needs a little Christmas”?