Have you ever sung, The Twelve Days of Christmas? Most of us have no clue what the twelve days refer to. Do people celebrate Christmas for twelve days?
It turns out that the Christian church assumed that it took the wise men of the east twelve days to locate the baby Jesus after first speaking to King Herod in Jerusalem. According to the gospel of Matthew, chapter 2, the wise men were following a star that led them to the location where Jesus was, along with Mary and Joseph. There, in Bethlehem they presented their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Therefore some Christian traditions give gifts on the 6th instead of December 25.
The name for this day is epiphany, a day when Jesus Christ was revealed to the non-Jewish people of the world (as represented by the eastern magi. Some Christian traditions also include the baptism of Jesus and his first miracle on this day).
Today, we might use the word epiphany in a loose sense, like a realization or understanding. Surely we need both at the start of a new year. We need a realization of who Jesus Christ is as a Savior and King. We also need help in understanding things that mystify us and the faith to accept the things we cannot understand.
As we enter a new year, I hope that God’s light through Jesus Christ will guide me through the difficulties I will encounter and give me hope in what I do not understand. I wish the same for you.
Happy New Year,
P.S. There is a lot of artwork from around the world that represents the eastern kings coming to Jesus. I hope you enjoy my two selections. Though depicted in different styles at different times, the intensity of the kings and the light coming from Jesus reflect the wonder of this day