It is Epiphany, the day we remember the Magi’s visit to the Christ child and the “epiphany” or revelation of God’s presence on earth. On Christmas we heard the good news proclaimed by the angels that Christ was born. With the shepherds, we visited Mary and Joseph in the stable to see this miracle. We tried to comprehend what was happening, but it was more glorious than we could even fathom. We were both afraid and hopeful. Now, with the Wise Men’s visit, we gain a little more clarity about who Jesus is, though there is still much to be revealed through his ministry and teachings. Like our faith, it is a process. Each day we gain a greater understanding of who Jesus is. That is the gift of Epiphany.
When the Wise Men visited Jesus they brought him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Granted, these gifts would have looked silly at a baby shower – where were the diapers, the baby blankets, the stuffed animals?!? But these gifts had a different purpose; they were intended to honor Jesus as Christ the King. Plus, as we see in the words of the ancient carol, We Three Kings, they were symbolic: gold had great value and was often used to make crowns for kings, so it represented his status as a king. Frankincense was often burned in worship services to create a wonderful fragrance, so it represented that Jesus is worthy of our praise and worship. And myrrh was a spice used in embalming, thus pointing to Jesus’s ultimate sacrifice and death on the cross.
This led me to wonder: what gifts would I bring to the manger? What can I offer this baby who has come to save the world? and me? What can I bring to honor the fact that Jesus died for me? What gifts point to the fact that Jesus was and is and always will be God – a God of deep love?
That’s what today’s prayer bead devotion is about: helping us ponder this question. It’s too easy to say we have nothing to offer because we are unworthy or have nothing of value, but that’s not true. We all have something to offer the Incarnate God, things that speak to who God is in our lives and to the world. It may be our devotion, our time, our talents, our material possessions, etc. I hope this devotion will give you time to consider the gifts you have to offer that bring glory and honor to Jesus the Messiah.
Cross: Gracious God,
Invitatory Bead: who came down to earth to reveal your love to us,
Resurrection Bead: help me to honor Jesus with my gifts.
First Cruciform Bead: One of the wise men brought gold to Jesus. What can I give?
Week Beads, First Set: Use each of the week beads to consider what gift you can offer Jesus.
Second Cruciform Bead: The second king brought frankincense to Jesus. What can I give?
Week Beads, Second Set: Use each of the week beads to consider what gift you can offer to Jesus.
Third Cruciform Bead: The third wise man brought myrrh to Jesus. What can I give?
Week Beads, Third Set: Use each of the week beads to consider what gift you can offer to Jesus.
Fourth Cruciform Bead: The wise men fell down and worshipped Jesus.
Week Beads, Fourth Set: Use each of the week beads to worship Jesus – God come down to earth to reveal God’s love to you.
Resurrection Bead: Thank you for loving me and receiving my gifts,
Invitatory Bead: in the name of your Beloved Son, Jesus,