Happy New Year, my friends, and a blessed Epiphany Day to you.
I didn’t grow up celebrating Epiphany, but each year I am learning more about this special observance. Though we didn’t plan it on purpose, we kept our Christmas decorations up later this year, and in light of what I’m learning about Epiphany and the Twelve Days of Christmas, the presence of our decorated and lighted tree has been a sweet and comforting blessing. I almost hated to see it packed away…. Then again, it’s kind of nice to enjoy that “clean” look to our living spaces. 😉
I’m certainly no expert, but I did want to pass along some of what I’ve learned so far about Epiphany.
Did you know that the traditional 12 days of Christmas are not the 12 days leading up to Christmas, but the 12 days afterward? In most of the Western church culture, the 12 days of Christmas begin either on Christmas night (Dec. 25) or the next morning (Dec. 26) and extend through January 6th, which is known as Epiphany. January 6th is also known as the Twelfth Day, and many families have an additional gathering of family, friends, and gifts on this occasion.
Epiphany means “to show,” “to make known,” or “to reveal.” It is a part of the Christmas season where we are to reflect on how the wise men sought out the Christ-Child, brought Him gifts, and revealed Jesus to the on-looking world as the Real Lord and King.
It is to be a time where we focus on the truth that those who seek Jesus will find Him, just as the Wise Men did. When the Wise Men bowed down to Jesus and presented Him their valuable gifts, they acknowledged Him as King of all Kings… not just King of the religious people, but King of everyone, of you and of me. PTL!
Some homes celebrate a “Season of Epiphany” which begins today, January 6, and will last through Ash Wednesday. During this time, observers will reflect upon the life of Jesus, the Gift of Jesus, and the mission of Jesus and His church body in light of the Nativity…what it means to belong to Him, to be filled by Him, and to be poured out for His glory. I want to live in observance of this season of Epiphany. How about you?
Epiphany trumpets the call for all of us to become wise men (and women) who seek Jesus, searching for Him with all of our hearts (Jer. 29:13) as we present ourselves to Him as gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
“When they saw the star, they were thrilled with ecstatic joy. And on going into the house, they saw the Child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshipped Him. Then opening their treasure bags, they presented to Him gifts – gold and frankincense and myrrh.” Matthew 2:10-11 (Amp)
Gold –This was a standard gift to a king. It represented kingship and power.
My gift of Gold would be my submission to God/Jesus as my KING. It would be my pledge and willful gift of obedience as His servant in every way. Without delay. Without question. Without pouting. Without arguement. Without bargaining. Without demanding a gift in return… Presenting Jesus with Gold means bowing before Him with a “Yes, Lord… I am Your handmaiden… Let it be to me as You have said…” kind of answer to any request/command His Word makes of us.
Like gold is the standard other monetary values are based upon, Obedience and Submission are the standards that our lives in Christ are to be based upon. Our lives are to be willfully and joyfully marked by these traits. Obedience and Submission are more valuable and everlasting than gold.
Frankincense – This was a special incense used for worship.
My gift of Frankincense is my worship, praise, prayers, and passionate desire for personal intimate fellowship with God my King, Father, Creator; Jesus Christ my Savior, Friend, Lover; and The Holy Spirit my Counselor, Convictor, and Teacher.
Praise, worship, gratitude, and intimacy with Jesus is especially a gift when life isn’t going as we would like it. When times are hard, and we wonder why God is allowing certain things to cross our lives, yet we choose to praise, worship, thank, and walk with Him… This is the sacrificial Frankincense that blesses His heart.
Myrrh – This was used to embalm bodies of the dead.
My gift of Myrrh is the dying of self in my physical body, so that the Power and Presence of the Holy Spirit can embalm me, stiffen me to the sway of this world, and preserve me to live for and through my God and King.
For me, this Myrrh is probably the hardest gift to give. I don’t mind saying I “want” to give this gift to Jesus, but actually doing it will be a minute by minute battle: Who will I give in to? The flesh or the spirit? The wolf or the dove?
We give Myrrh to Jesus as we choose to act and react in ways that are pleasing to Him instead of gratifying to our flesh. It will be a gift we give in every choice that we make – in every area of our lives – alone, with God, with family, at home, in public… and it will span the physical and emotional and spiritual.
Giving Myrrh means dying to self so we can live to Jesus.
The question before us on this Epiphany Day is: Will you and I choose to bow before Him each day and present Jesus with these gifts of submission / obedience, worship, and death to self?
As we move ahead into 2018, let’s do it with a mindset of Epiphany…of seeking Jesus, and presenting Him with our own gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh.
It is a wise man and a wise woman who will seek the Lord, because:
“The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;”
Happy New Year, and a blessed Season of Epiphany to you all ~
If you’d like to learn more about Epiphany, this is an excellent web article. Also, This is a wonderful website about all of the Christian observances during the church year. I highly encourage you to visit and study through this site, link by link. I promise, you’ll be blessed! 🙂
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