Gifts for the Journey (Epiphany)

Gifts for the Journey (Epiphany)

OT Lesson: Psalm 103: 1-22 NT Lesson: 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13 Gospel Lesson: Luke 12: 22-31 Reading of the Magi account: Matthew 2: 1-12   To set the record straight – the Magi were not at the manger. They did not arrive the night of Jesus’ birth. Recall Matthew’s account; ‘when they came into the house….they gave their gifts.’ Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem for the census. Joseph likely worked as late as he could – to earn as much as he could – causing a late start from Nazareth, hence a late arrival at Bethlehem, and at least one night spent in the barn due to overcrowding. Roman rule required payment of all due taxes prior to returning home.  So while in Bethlehem, Joseph probably took some odd-jobs of carpentry to earn enough to pay the tax and have sufficient money for the journey home. Meantime, he found lodging in a house. We are not sure how much time had passed – not really important – but it is interesting that the Wise Men were not there on the birth-night. These Wise Men – astrologers – had probably been en route from the Far East (Iran/Iraq…some authorities cite Africa and China) for two years, as evidenced by Herod’s infanticide decree that all male Hebrew babies two years old and younger in-and-around Bethlehem be killed. Astronomers have for years written of a supernova that appeared in the skies over Palestine around 4 – 6 BC, remaining visible for approximately two years. Of course, the main point is the Wise Men got there, and offered their gifts and their...