As you know by now if you are a regular reader at Everyday Ediths, this month we’ve been writing on the theme of Epiphany. And, as usual, I’m the last one to tackle the topic, with several tough acts to follow!
I wanted to be original, and interesting, and inspiring, but as I reflected on the theme, all I could come up with is what Epiphany has mostly meant to me throughout my life–the day after which we should probably start thinking about getting the Christmas tree down!
So I went back to basics, and started thinking about the Feast of the Epiphany. It’s a great story, right? The three richly-robed kings. coming from three different foreign lands with their camels and their gifts, all following that bright star.
But we celebrate the feast not just in remembrance of an event, but of that event’s significance: The Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, a recognition that He is the Savior of ALL the world.
Going back again to the historical event–imagine the wise men, weary with their long journey, seeing that star growing closer and closer, finally beholding the infant king, being able to present their gifts to Him! It was the culmination not just of a physical journey, but of years of studying and waiting and no doubt praying. Don’t you wish you could have been there?
That first manifestation of Christ can seem very long ago and out of reach to us, especially once the Feast of the Epiphany is over and the manger scene has been put away. For insight into how we might encounter Him today, we can find clues in the story of the Other Wise Man.
This is one of my family’s favorite Christmas books. It is the story of Artaban, the wise man you have never heard of. Delayed in meeting the other Magi because he stopped to help a sick man along the road, again and again throughout his life Artaban is thwarted in his attempts to see Jesus in person as he finds himself diverted from his quest by the needs of others around him. Artaban dies on the day of the Crucifixion, having spent all the treasure he’d meant to give the Baby King on those in need and missing his last chance to see Jesus when he stops on his way to Calvary to save a young girl from slavery.
As he lays dying, Artaban receives his own Epiphany, as he hears the voice of Jesus: “Whenever you helped one of my people in need, you helped Me.” The story ends: “The peace of understanding fell upon Artaban’s soul . . . His treasures were accepted. The other wise man had found the King.”
We don’t have to follow a star to find Jesus. He is made manifest all around us. We just have to remember where to look.