Today is the feast day of the Epiphany, the arrival of Three Wise Men. The word Epiphany is derived from the Greek word, Koine which means “appearance” or “manifestation” and refers to Christ’s incarnation. The Three Wise Men brought three gifts, gold for a king, frankincense for a priest, and myrrh for anointing the dead. Mary must have pondered these gifts in her heart. I wonder if she thought diapers, a hotdish, or even a loaf of bread might have been just as nice and appreciated, but she trusted God to know what they should offer the newborn babe.
These three travelers from afar were Casper, Melchior, and Balthazar. Their coming from the East means they represented the whole world. They searched for a king for the whole world, for all people.
They were foreigners risking all, traveling through unknown routes, dangerous situations, and uncertain times. They trusted that God was leading them, using a star, to find a newborn King. They saw, offered homage, gave gifts, and through a dream were sent home by a different route. They came carrying their worldly gifts and went home a different way, with their hearts filled with Godly gifts of mercy, grace, hope, and love.
When my kids were young, we used to bless our home by using the Wisemen Blessing as they did in their classrooms every year. On the lintel of our front door, in chalk we wrote:
20 † C † M † B † 22
The first set of numbers and the last set of numbers refer to the year. The letters stand for the three Magi: Caspar, Balthasar and Melchior. They also represent the three-word Latin blessings: Christus Mansionem Benediacat, meaning, “May Christ bless this house.” The three crosses represent the Blessed Trinity. (If you can’t use chalk on your lintel write the numbers and letters on a piece of paper and tape it on your door lintel.)
We prayed the Wise Men blessing to give us the courage all year long to step out of our comfort zone to share our faith with the people around us.
The photo is of one of my favorite puzzles. I framed it and bring it out every year to remember how brave the Wise Men were to search for the Christ Child and how much easier it is for me to believe today. Thank you, Casper, Melchior, and Balthazar, but I have to say I am pretty sure there was a woman who came along to ask for directions as they journeyed. Maybe, just maybe Mary did get a meal fixed for her family while they were visiting! Blessings in the New Year!