Gospel Meditation


“And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.” In our day and age, the star of Christmas has become a kind of decorative symbol that adorns manger scenes and Christmas trees. It suggests something good and bright and holy, a visual indicator that the “Light of the world” has appeared. But today, on the feast of the Epiphany, we recall that originally, this star was not just a pretty symbolic ornament. This star was a sign from God that intervened in the operations of the physical universe. The Magi understood that this star was sent from God to indicate where his Son would be born.

Of course it should not surprise us in this season of all seasons that God should choose to order the universe according to his purposes. Jesus has just been born of a virgin! God has just taken on human flesh. These events in themselves are extraordinary divine interventions–miracles that defy the standard operation of things. Why shouldn’t God choose to send a luminous star where he wants it, when he wants it? Why shouldn’t he reveal his plan through the things that he created in the first place?

The beauty of today’s feast is found, in part, in the fact that the Magi were able to recognize this sign from God. They waited for it, they saw it, and they rejoiced in it: “They were overjoyed at seeing the star.” We too should be overjoyed in this season of God’s special revelation to us. We may need the eyes to recognize it, but truly we have waited for a Savior, we have seen his appearance at Christmas, and now it is time to celebrate! God is at work in our physical world. He has come here, now to save us. This is cause for rejoicing!