When ancient people looked at the night sky, free from the light pollution of our modern cities, they did not see stars, planets and galaxies as we understand them. Ancients saw heroes and monsters, bears and brave hunters, dragons, scorpions, animals and humans walking, chasing, flying across the sky. They noticed that planets were different from stars and believed this to be because they were influencing the world of men and women. But in ancient times, unlike today where people think they can find a personal message in a horoscope, it was believed that the “stars” only had influence over or were influenced by the actions of the king. And that is where our story of the Epiphany begins.
Whatever the magi saw in the heavens, they knew that it could only portend the birth of a king, and not just any king but one whose reign would affect them, even in a distant land. How surprised they must have been to enter the simple dwelling where Mary and Joseph cared for their newborn baby; no royal court, no riches or armies. And yet, to this child they opened their treasures.
As we celebrate the Epiphany, we can reflect on how and where we might find God’s active presence in our own lives; the surprising events and experiences that remind us that God is real and that he is with us. How do we respond to that presence in our relationships, our work, and our lives? Jesus makes himself known so that we might open ourselves up to him.
Where is God in our lives?