The Epiphany of the Lord | Mt: 2: 1-12
Right about now, people are usually “so over” Christmas.
They’ve tossed the trees to the curb, thrown the unwanted gift cards into the dresser drawer, OD’d on cookies and chocolate, lost the instructions for the electronic toys, and spent many sleepless nights wondering when the kids would finally quiet down and go to bed. Shouldn’t they be back in school?
It’s time to get on with life. Where can I find a Weight Watchers near me?
But first, our liturgy on the Solemnity of Epiphany brings some visitors into our world. Wise men from the East have followed a pinpoint of light, seeking direction — and answers.
Whether we realize it or not, this moment matters. We shouldn’t just shrug it off.
This is what these last weeks have really been about, from Advent to Christmas to now. All the waiting, watching, pondering and searching have led us here, to a question that lies at the heart of who we are and what we believe.
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?” (Mt. 2:2)
The magi found their answer in the stars, and eventually in Bethlehem, in a forgotten corner of the world, where they presented treasures to a newborn baby.
But the question that led them there should challenge and humble all of us. Two weeks after Christmas, we are left with this haunting question: after all the parties and tinsel, where is Christ?
In our world, in our lives, where have we put him? What has all this meant to us?
The breathtaking simplicity of the name “Emmanuel” — “God with us” — should leave us inspired, consoled, uplifted. And deeply humbled.
Where is Jesus now? The newborn king of the Jews should not be wrapped in tissue paper and put in a box in the attic until next December. He shouldn’t be hidden away.
He is here. Among us. Within us. What are we doing to make him present to others in our world?
Those seeking the savior should be able to find him in arms that embrace the weak, the vulnerable, the fearful, the sick.
They should discover him in men and women standing for justice and dignity and mercy.
They should recognize him in humble believers who welcomed him on Christmas morning, and made a home for him in their hearts, and who strive every day to make him present in a world that too often feels he is absent.
The sobering truth is: If people feel Jesus is missing, it may be our own fault. What can we do about that?
The answer, I think, lies in remembering that what began on Christmas morning doesn’t end once you take down the tree or unplug the lights. All through Advent, we hoped and prayed and waited for Christ to come into our world, into our hearts. Do we forget that so easily? He is with us! What will we do with that? What will we do with him?
“Epiphany” — the word that gives this Sunday its name — means “an appearance or manifestation.” The Cambridge English Dictionary adds that it also means “a moment that you suddenly feel that you understand.”
Maybe this is our moment to “suddenly feel that we understand,” that we truly grasp what this glorious season has been about, and what we need to do.
Let us take this opportunity to remember that the newborn king came to dwell within each of us — and we need now to make him manifest to others in our world.
If you think you are so over Christmas, and all its meaning, think again. Really, we’re just getting started.
Deacon Greg Kandra is an award-winning author and journalist, and creator of the blog “The Deacon’s Bench.” He serves in the Diocese of Brooklyn.