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Monday Morning Message 1.2.2023

Dearest Members of Bethlehem,

“…they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.” -Matthew 2:9-10

So, why were the Magi overwhelmed with joy? Was it because their search and journey were finally over? Was it because they could finally be rid of those heavy gifts they’d been lugging around? No, of course not!

The Magi were overwhelmed because they had finally found what they were looking for. And once they did discover Jesus, they paid homage and shared the gifts they had to share. After their encounter with Christ, we trust these Magi were never the same again. They thwarted Herod’s evil efforts and returned home with news that things were different now, the world had been changed through the birth of a child. They would have to start looking for something new now, start doing things differently.

On January 6th we will celebrate Epiphany, the day we remember the Magi or “wise men” discovering Jesus. The word epiphany means manifestation or appearance. It is derived from the word, verb actually, that means to appear.

So, in a way, on Epiphany we celebrate, “showing up.” Now, we are grateful that Jesus, “showed up,” that is partly what we were celebrating during Christmas. Soon, we will celebrate that the Magi, “showed up” to honor God’s work in the world. Just as an aside, the Magi were “Gentiles,” so Epiphany is a reminder that God’s redemption in Christ is for all of God’s children.

But I do believe, there’s one more, “showing up,” that we need to be mindful of in this holy season. I think we can acknowledge that when Christians “show up” it’s an opportunity to bless those who need it most. When there are homeless people in our city suffering through winter, we can follow the lead, and “show up.” When school children start their days with empty stomachs, time for us to “show up.” When people are unjustly imprisoned, we can “show up,” seeking justice. I could go on, but I trust you get the gist of this distinctive kind of epiphany.

One of the great privileges of being Christian is the privilege of being Christ’s ambassadors. When we “show up,” we not only live into faithful lives of discipleship we allow a day of epiphany to unfold all over again.

Question for reflection: How do you plan to celebrate Epiphany?

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Dan

In this season of Epiphany, we expect to meet you anew gracious Lord.Bless our times of worship, prayer, and service.Inspire us to seek you and serve you in our daily lives.We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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