Happy New Year to you all! This Sunday is a special day called Epiphany. Here is the story of Epiphany as told in Matthew 2: 1-12.
How many of you have ever looked up at the night sky and have seen stars? They are so pretty – twinkling and shining brightly. There are scientists even today, called astronomers, who study the stars. There have been astronomers for thousands of years—people have always been interested in studying the stars. At the time Jesus was born, there were astronomers living far away from Bethlehem, studying the stars too. One night they were looking up at the sky when they noticed something surprising; something they had never seen before. It was a new star high in the sky! These ancient astronomers (We usually call them Wise Men or Magi.) believed that new stars didn’t just show up for no reason. They believed the new star they saw meant something important had happened in the world – a sign that a new king had been born, so they decided to follow it and see where it led. They wanted to meet and worship this new king. They journeyed on camels and traveled for a long time in the desert, using only the star to guide them. Along the way, they stopped and visited King Herod, the ruler of that land. They told him about the new star and a new baby king being born. They asked the king if he knew where he was.
Well, when King Herold heard this, he became afraid. He was afraid this new baby would grow up and take over his throne. So King Herold pretended to be nice and told these men that he would like to meet the baby king and worship him too. “When you find him, you come back and tell me where he is, so I can visit him as well.” The Wise Men agreed.
They continued on their trip; finally, the star stopped over a house in Bethlehem. The men, who had traveled so far for so long, were filled with joy to reach their destination. When they entered the house, they found Jesus with Mary and Joseph. The astronomers knew the baby was someone special—someone to be honored. And so they immediately knelt down and worshipped Him. They even had brought gifts for him and offered Baby Jesus precious gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They understood that he was no ordinary child, but was someone special sent by God to lead the people, like a king.
After a while, the Wise Men decided it was time to return home. They planned on keeping their promise to King Herod, but God sent an angel to talk to them in a dream. The angel told them to go home a different way because King Herod wanted to hurt the baby, not worship Him, so that’s what the Wise Men did. Let’s pray together. Dear God, thank You for sending the star to lead the wise astronomers to Jesus. Thank You for sending Jesus into the world to lead us all. Help us to be wise too and follow Jesus where He leads us. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Ann Moody is pastor of Wilkesville First Presbyterian Church and the Middleport First Presbyterian Church.