With the New Year comes rejoicing, and the arrival of the Wise Men. It is the Epiphany, the time of the season when Christ is made known to those around him. The Wise Men represent the many different cultures and faiths who welcome the arrival of Christ into their lives and recognize the work of God at hand.
The twelfth night is so many things to so many different people. For some it is known as 'little christmas', the night the gifts of the Magi were brought to the Christ child. For others it signifies the time to take down the tree and other decorations and organize their lives for a new year. Down here around the New Orleans area, it is time to start celebrating age old Mardi Gras traditions of King Cake and parades of revelry prior to Lent. Yet with every significance Christ remains at the Center.
I have only recently wondered at the impact Christ must have made on the Wise Men. Here are three intelligent and learned men, non-Christian, non-Jewish, being moved to travel many miles to gaze upon....a baby. What power God has to manifest Himself in such a way. These men were not fools, nor were they foolish. They recognized the Salvation made known to man, yet there are times when we, knowing our faith, knowing what God has given to us turn away or walk away from that which has been made known to us.
What is even more interesting was the gifts the Wise Men chose to present to the Child...gold, frankencense and myrrh. The insight these men had, to choose gifts that spoke to the Who of the Person in Christ is truly amazing. The gold was to signify the kingship of the Child that would one day rule over Heaven and Earth which is amazing in itself, but did you ever wonder about the oil and incense. The incense was a direct reference to the divinity of the God-man. The Israelites would use the incense at the sacrifices to lift their prayers and offerings to God. The incense reminded them of the Glory Cloud of God who would sit on the Glory seat of the Ark of the Covenant when they rested in the desert during that long sojourn out of Egypt. The myrrh, a fragrant oil used for anointing was a direct reference to the anointing of the Kings, King David in particular, The Chosen One of God, the Messiah. But this oil signified the anointing with oil the women would use to anoint the body at the burial. How prophetic was that? These men got it. They recognized that little body as the Christ, the one chosen by God for our Salvation. Imagine the angels singing while the Wise Men knelt in wonder and awe...remind you of anything?
Next time you are at Mass and kneeling as you listen to the bells ringing, or singing "Hosanna in the Highest", think of those men so long ago who gazed upon the little child in a leanto shelter, with cows and sheep close by. Think of the honor and glory they gave to Him and remind yourself you too are in the presence of greatness, before you is lifted up the Body of Christ and soon you will receive Him into your body and become one with Him as a Bride becomes one with the Bridegroom. Now glorify in the closeness and oneness and ask yourself, do I do enough or give enough to this relationship I have with Christ? After reflection on those questions, go and make your New Year resolutions, do it for yourself and your relationship with Christ and watch how all the other relationships just fall into place. The results will not take place over night, but in time you will see a difference and it will amaze you. Go in peace to Love and Serve the Lord.