It was one of those "should have" moments. A candle-lighter, seeing that no one was dressed as magi for Epiphany Sunday, asked, "No magi? Are there no wise men today?"
My answer, "No, not today."
I kept hearing her question over and over again during the worship service and I shook my head at my own answer. Why did I say that to her? I should have said, "I am looking at one when I look at you! Following the star, looking heavenward and journeying with others, asking where Jesus can be found, bowing in worship in the presence of our Lord, and presenting our best gifts to God … these are the makings of magi."
I should have said that but I didn’t.
Our Epiphany-thinking is often centered around the details of the story found in Matthew. The world still finds itself in darkness. Herod still creeps into our Christmases. For all the magi brought with them on their journey and for their searching, seeking, traveling "moor and mountain" and for carrying precious gifts, they were also following a light that shone in the darkness.
I remember when I smell the strange, sweet fragrance of frankincense or the heavy fragrance of myrrh. My eyes gleam at the sight of gold. I wonder if the magi’s gift canisters were encased with jewels or if the dust of the journey ruined their robes. I can search for the details not found in scriptures but what leads me to the infant king is the light that keeps me focused and moving forward on my journey.
God is exceptionally good at star-hanging and light-giving! God might encourage us to turn on our book light to bring us to Jesus through the word. Our paths might be illuminated by "magi" whose faces shine from having seen the Christ child and want to show us the way. Holy light brings worship to our hearts. The light leads us from our beginnings to life eternal.
The acolyte asked, "Where are the magi?" Her question is really, if I am one of the magi and if you are, too, what do we consider a gift fit for king?
I could never dream of placing a gift canister before him. I only have myself to give. Did I just say 'only'? And you? What would you give? Did you say “only” as well?