It’s the first Tuesday of the month! Join in our community practice of silence for ten minutes. Use this zoom link and use the phrase “bestill” when asked for a code to enter. We will start at 7:00 a.m. MST (time zone converter). See you there!
Most people would say that after December 25, Christmas is over. Yet it really isn’t. In a sense, every day is a celebration of Christmas Day—for each dawning day offers the opportunity to declare that Christ is born, not just in Bethlehem over two millennia ago, but this day. If we think that Christ was only born in a stable long ago, we’re missing part of the Story; He longs to be born afresh in your heart and mine today, wherever we are, whatever we are doing.
Christmas Day starts off the twelve days of rejoicing in Christ’s birth, culminating with January 6. Although not a well-celebrated holiday, Epiphany is a remembering occasion: a time to pause and to recall the arrival of the Wise Men. They came seeking, then worshipping at the feet of Jesus. These Magi, who didn’t arrive immediately, but came perhaps as much as two years later, give us reason to ponder.
Long after the baby Jesus was born, the Magi were still seeking the newborn king announced by the star they had observed in the heavens. Whether they knew it or not, the Magi, in their seeking, were responding to an invitation by God that would lead them to what mattered the most. This wasn’t your simple everyday invitation, however; their response would change their lives radically.
That’s the way invitations from God are: mysterious, transforming, unique, continual. The invitations of God often complicate how we think life will be—out of nowhere; the unusual invites us into the unexpected.
These Magi were probably learned men of notable esteem in their own far-off village. A strange star and a stranger nudge set them searching. So off they went, leaving behind the familiar: the comforts of home, the comforts of the known, heading down an unknown path towards an Unknown King. It’s probably not really what they expected their lives to look like.
For me, as I imagine it is for you, I squirm a bit when God the Wild One comes in with invitations that upend my comfortable ways, comfortable living, comfortable notions of how I thought life would be. In Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, and in all the days that follow, Christ invites us not only to keep rejoicing at His birth, to keep holding Christmas in our hearts, but also to keep our eyes open to the unexpected.
So how do we do that? How do we notice afresh the Presence of God tabernacled among us? How do we live into the celebration of Christmas, not just on December 25, but also on every day before and after that date?
As Epiphany comes, let us, like the Wise Men, be attentive to God’s nudges and respond to His interruptions and invitations. Let us, like the Magi, seek out the ever-born Christ, finding ourselves worshipful and overjoyed as we kneel at His feet. And let us, like those men of long ago, come with our gifts to keep celebrating His birth.
If, like the Magi, we go in search of Jesus, we will never again be the same. We will find that today—and every day—will be a continual observance of that first Christmas where angels, shepherds, and Joseph and Mary welcomed Christ. We will find that even years after His birth in a manger, we, like the Wise Men, will worship the One who is the reason to celebrate each and every day.
May Christ be born in you this good Christmas-like day.