When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold. Magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”
When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah 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 rules of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.”
Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen as its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.
Salvation is not only exclusive for the Jews but to everyone who need it. All kingdoms and countries who seek salvation deserve the savior. Today, the Church celebrates Epiphany, which means proclamation. The proclamation of the Son of God to the world and in the world through the visitation of the wise men (or “the Magi” who are popularly known as the “Three Kings”) who offered him gold, frankincense and myrrh.
The birth of Christ was the fulfillment of a promise made by God that He will send a savior to save and restore the relationship of God and men once broken. Christmas is the birth of the Messiah that took place in a small town of Bethlehem in Israel, almost two thousand years ago.
A number of scholars have established and testified that the birth of Jesus is a historical fact, as there was really a census that was called by the governor of Syria at that particular time of history. Jesus’ birth was proclaimed and attested by the shepherds and the wise men (magi) who visited the newborn savior as prophesied. The birth of Jesus is not just an ordinary event for it is one of the greatest events of human history for it is the birth of Jesus, the Son of God and Son of Man.
Epiphany is the Sunday after the celebration of the motherhood of Mary last January 1. The Christmas season ends with the feast of the Epiphany. The story of the three kings has been told and retold through centuries. These three kings or wise men went to visit the new- born messiah following the star that appeared in the east. They believed that the star is the sign that the new king is born, and this king is greatest of all. They saw the sign and they traveled far until they reached Bethlehem. They gave honor and respect to the babe who is king and savior of the world.
We do not only remember Jesus in a manger but his birth must be best remembered and kept in our hearts. Like the three wise men who were searching and looking for the star in the east which was a star of hope, let us joyfully remember and celebrate the birth of the savior—Jesus, the Emmanuel (God with us) always even if the Christmas season ends. Long time ago, the baby Jesus was born in Bethlehem but today Jesus should be born in our hearts.
As we end the Christmas season, let us pause and reflect on our ways and lifestyles:
Is Jesus really born in my heart?
Is Jesus present in my life?
Is God in the center of my life?
Like the Magi, do I honor the Lord at all times?
What do I offer to Him– who is my Lord and my God?
Is my heart pure and totally dedicated to God?
Am I a holy bearer of Christ?
Almighty and Loving God, we thank you for sending Jesus as our savior, as our king and as our brother. May Jesus’ birth and living among us, inspire us and guide us always toward you proclaiming your greatness. Like the three wise men (magi) who visited your son in a manger, may we honor you faithfully and lovingly. May we always be willing to offer and share your blessings of love with one another especially those who are in most need – the poor, the sick and those who are suffering of various forms.
May the Star of Hope – Jesus be our light in our day to day living so that we may not falter nor go away from you. May we be enriched by the blessings of your birth so that we will also experience and receive a graceful rebirth in you. This we ask through Christ our Lord who lives and reign with you and the Holy Spirit one God, forever and ever, Amen.
Let us pray for God’s mercy and love as we remember those people whom we promised to pray for… may the Lord hear and listen to their intentions and grant their petitions.