Today is the worldwide celebration of the Theophany.
In Catholic and Protestant circles, it commemorates the Magi’s visit to infant Jesus. Three gifts, gold, frankincense, and myrrh are brought to Jesus. These gifts were often given to royalty in the Middle East. Gold was a gift far too expensive for most individuals to afford in Jesus’ time. It would have been presented to an earthly king to show respect. Thus, the gift of gold symbolizes Christ’s kingship here on earth. Frankincense was typically used in temple worship to assist in prayers being lifted to God. The frankincense oil would then symbolize Christ’s divinity and bringing one’s prayers before him. Myrrh is an oil commonly used in embalming. This last gift is prophetic and points to the salvation of all people who follow Christ through his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. Like all that God does, the details behind these gifts reveal the interwoven complexities and beauty of God’s plans and love.
Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate the Epiphany through the remembrance of Christ’s baptism by John. Christ didn’t need to be baptized to prove that he was incarnate. However, in submission and in painting a picture of renewal, Christ told John it was right for the Savior to be baptized. Baptism is a symbol of cleansing oneself from sin through the proclamation of Christ as Lord and Savior.
So today I’ve been meditating on what needs renewal in my life? What do I need to bring to God as a gift today? What struggles do I need to confess and let the Holy Spirit transform this year? What am I still holding onto that I haven’t surrendered to Christ? What relationships do I need to focus on/let go of? This especially impacts me with the impending arrival of mine and Frank’s little Peanut and remembering the loss of our Teddy Graham.