Vicar’s Reflection: Feast of the Epiphany, 6 January 2019
The visit of the Magi is recorded only in Matthew’s Gospel. We connect their visit with the birth stories, but according to Matthew 2.16 their visit could have been up to two years after Jesus’ birth. Their visit importantly indicated an external witness to the significance and identity of Jesus. We don’t know exactly what the signs were in the night skies that prompted these Magi to make their journey. It most likely was a conjunction of two or more features as is often the case in astrology. Such an event is recorded as happening between 7 April and 19 December of 6 BC*, Remember there was no science of astronomy in those times, but neither were there electric street-lights so the stars and planets (or ‘wandering stars’) were important for navigation and people observed and studied them closely, attributing meanings to them that few today understand. Their visit was important and remembered in the oral histories from which Matthew drew. To us their visit remains important because it communicates a truth that Jesus is important not just to people of faith. Jesus has a significance that is global and cosmic. He is the Son of God; therefore, the words and wisdom, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus have more than personal and devotional meaning. The Christmas season calls us to invite him into our hearts. Epiphany and the visit of the Magi remind us to invite him into our relationships, our work, our marketplaces, our politics, our science.