magi - 2Written By: Naomi Toms

This past Sunday, we celebrated the Epiphany of our Lord. The word Epiphany, like the word theophany, means God’s self-revelation, the manifestation of His glory. In particular, on Epiphany, we celebrate God’s self-revelation to the Gentiles, as the Magi of the East come to honour Him and bring Him gifts.

That means that this familiar story, the story of the Three Kings coming to pay homage to the baby King, is in truth the story of God appearing visibly, in the flesh, to man.

I think the enormity of this has been downplayed. Think about it for a second. If God showed Himself to you right now, what would you expect? Possibly a loud, booming voice from the heavens, flashes of lightening and rolls of thunder, blinding light perhaps, or at the very least some sort of a burning shrub.

But that is not how God chooses to be seen. Yes, in times past, in the times of preparation and of lawgiving, He came as a great presence, heralded by such displays of grandeur as a burning bush, a fiery cloud, and so forth. But now, in the fullness of time, at the time of His fullest self-revelation, God shows Himself quite differently. God, the very Lord and Creator of all time and space, reveals Himself to us as a baby. What could be more helpless, vulnerable, and utterly dependant than a little infant, especially one born in the cold poverty of a stable?

We Christians often talk about how God is the one who takes the first step, who initiates our relationship with Him. That is all well and good. But let’s not get so lost in the dry terminology that we forget what it means! What it certainly doesn’t resemble is the kind of pity tinged with disgust that a haughty prince would demonstrate in giving alms to the beggar at his door. Rather, God’s initiating love is the same kind of crazy, irrepressible love that Jesus attributed to the Father of the Prodigal Son, a love that runs, undignified, across the lawn to embrace us in order to win our hearts. And so it is at Christ’s Epiphany. Manifesting Himself as a little baby, He reveals Himself from the very first as a Person wanting our love. Desiring our presence. Allowing Himself to need our love, as any helpless little infant would. Wanting to be held close, nestle in our arms, and stay with us forever. And this, this, is our God.

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