Today is called Epiphany Sunday because it is the day in which Christ’s birth is revealed to the world by the Magi who came to honor Him. These three people were the only ones who saw the signs and understood them according to what the prophet Micah had foretold:
Herod inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea,
for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler,
who is to shepherd my people Israel.”
In coming to honor Christ as the newborn King, this was a threat to Herod, which set in motion the chain of events that led to Joseph and Mary taking Jesus to Egypt to keep Him safe. This may seem a bit strange, but it actually proves the importance of Christ’s birth was very real. If Jesus didn’t have a legitimate claim to become King, the Magi wouldn’t have come all that way to honor him, and Herod wouldn’t have wanted to kill Him.
It is a strange set of circumstances, that the newborn King would be honored by foreigners and under threat from his own people. But this isn’t so strange when we consider how we all feel threatened by the loss of power. For most of us, this is a loss of independence and abilities as we get older. Many may feel threatened by the thought of retiring, as this means handing over what they have built to someone. We all fear loss of control in some way, and we all must find a way to accept this loss graciously.
While not one of us will leave this life with control over everything we want, we can all find a way to accept a new way of living, and even celebrate the passing on of responsibilities to another. We all have an opportunity to make a difference in the world, and we are also charged with helping future generations do the same. When that feels like a threat to our way of life, let it become a challenge to help it happen in the way you want it to. You may just wake up one day and find that you can be proud of how someone else is taking care of things now. This is very important for your own life, but even more for those who come after you. May we never give in to feeling threatened by these changes in our lives, but accept the challenge of handing our own little piece of the world to those who follow us.