Epiphany of Our Lord, Year B

Inspired by Matthew 2:1-12

“In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’” Matthew 2:1-2 (NRSV)

What was it about this star that led the wise men to interpret it as they did? Why did astrologers from the East care enough about the birth of a new Jewish king to embark on a long, arduous journey so they could honor him and give him gifts of great worth? Israel was not an independent nation; it was under Roman rule. What compelled them to seek out this infant king of a conquered people?

The story of the wise men raises more questions than it answers, but one thing is clear: God was working through unexpected people in unexpected ways. Up until the time of Jesus, God’s blessings were believed to be restricted to the people of Israel. Furthermore, according to Jewish law, those who studied the stars for signs were believed to be fortunetellers and sorcerers, both of which were abhorrent to God. Yet here is God speaking through the stars to astrologers who were far outside the covenant of Israel.

There is no limit to what God might do in order to proclaim his love to all his creation. There is no place that God isn’t, no person beyond his care, no way to block his offer of grace. We might turn to the stars rather than the bible for our answers, but we can’t stop God from speaking to us through those stars, because he created them too. We can always choose to ignore him and turn away, but there is nothing we can do to prevent God from reaching out to us. His love for us is that great.

Let us pray. Ever-present God, you created the heavens, the earth, and all that is in both. Help us to see your love in your creation, that we may turn to you and experience your grace as the wise men did. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.