The wise men from the East, who have followed the star arrive at the crib. God first reveals his love in a stable before animals and shepherds and then come the wise men.
In contrast to the animals and shepherds, from the stable and the fields, the wise men represent the power and prestige of the world. They remind us that though this baby was born amidst mess and muddle, he’s for all people, rich and poor, those with little and those with lots.
Christmas 2015 is fading from our memory. The decorations have come down and the carol CD’s are put away for next year.
In the last couple of weeks we’ve reflected on the birth of Christ and what it continues to mean for us today.
This evening though we ponder the wise men and how their part in the story also fashion us as we journey on.
For me there is something in this story about what happens next, what happens after the carols of adoration and wonder fall silent till next year?
What of this Christmas story so central to our faith do we carry with us through the year?
There are of course many answers but one strand might be found in those words we heard in our Gospel this evening, when on seeing the infant king the wise men opened ‘their treasure chests’.
These treasure chests contained items of great wealth and extravagance to be given to the child. And yet there is more to it than that for this act, symbolically at least, continues to speak to us.
In one of those Christmas carols we know so well we ask ‘what can we give him poor as we are.’ We answer our question later in the same verse by singing ‘yet what I can I give him, give my heart’.
Part of that giving our heart is I think about opening the treasure chest of our life and offering it back to the one who gives. And every one of us has treasure to give; treasures of wisdom and understanding, treasures of thought and prayer, treasure of practical skills and welcome and so on.
For me part of Epiphany is having the chance to give thanks for that treasure I’ve been given and offer it afresh to the God who gives and goes on giving, that’s what I want to take with me into the rest of this year.
And though along the way I know I’ll sometimes get lost and forget, the wise men opening their treasure chests reminds me that I’m not here to cling and hoard and grasp but to give as well and as wisely as I can.
To give my whole self, mind, body and spirit, all that I have and all that I am back to the God revealed in that ultimate act of giving we see in the crib.
So this epiphany as we celebrate the journey of the wise men and the treasure they gave, we celebrate our own journey too.
The treasure of our lives that over the years we have given and shared over the years we look forward too, praying for grace that we may never close the treasure chest of our lives to the new opportunities God gives us every single day, to give as he gives to us.