The story of the Epiphany (6 January) is endlessly appealing and attractive to all ages.
With Kings and camels, stars and gifts, rich imagery and a colourful setting, the story enlivens our imagination, arouses our curiosity and inflames our desire to be part of the story.
Matthew is trying to put into words the profound mystery that words cannot convey.
There are three Kings ‘from the East’, astronomers, sages, who endlessly watch the skies for stars, for omens, for differences, readings them for signs of meaning for our lives and our existence. They see this star and know that something new has happened, something of great importance, something not yet seen, so they set off in search of the new.
Then we have an ambitious, ruthless and threatened King, in a palace in Jerusalem with a huge army, who will stop at nothing to maintain his position of dominance. A devious king who feigns interest and expresses desire to meet and pay homage to this new king who has arrived in his kingdom.
And finally we have a Baby. A newborn king in a cow’s feeding box with his mother and father and a few shepherds nearby. A simple little child who carries the profound hope and promise for all people, for every created thing, for the whole universe.
Our present day astromoners have seen great things in the sky and insist that the cosmos is infused with meaning and purpose.
Briane Swimme and other theologians have spoken of the principle of allurement, where everything is attracted to everything else through a mysterious force. This allurement draws everyone and everything towards and into mystery, into the One, into wisdom, into the Christ.
We are all drawn, in our own way, toward what provides ultimate meaning for our lives. If we resist the force or ignore it we lose our way. Like the Magi we must follow the light.
Christ is the ever-present light of our lives, beckoning from the many stars that allure us, calling us and inspiring us to give our lives as an offering so that all of creation may continue to evolve.
Let us then at this Epiphany, like the wise men, follow the star and the light as we journey through this beautiful season, until we reach the truth that is found in a manger.
Let us be aware of and alert to the wily Herods within and around us. The one(s) who want the highest place, to be the centre of everything and have no regard for the truth.
Let us not be fearful however, for our inner Magi is very wise and discerning.