The Epiphany of the Lord
Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-13; Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6;Matthew 2:1-12
They opened their treasures and offered him gifts. (Matthew 2:11)
What’s the best gift you have received this Christmas? How about the best gift you have given? Most likely, it wasn’t this year’s must-have item, which everyone lined up to buy. Rather, it was one you chose specifically for that person, something that reflected his or her personality perfectly.
In many cultures, Christmas gifts are given not on December 25 but on the feast of the Epiphany. The tradition is meant to honor the Magi, who gave the infant Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These gifts had symbolic value, but they were probably quite helpful as well during the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt.
Thinking about gift giving at Epiphany can help us shift the focus a bit. Just as the Magi gave Jesus presents, we too have the opportunity to offer the Lord some gifts of our own. Of course, now that he has ascended to heaven and is no longer in need of anything, we face a quandary: what gift can I possibly offer the Creator and Lord of the universe?
The familiar verse from the poet Christina Rossetti has it right: What can I give him, poor as I am? Give him my heart.
There are gifts we treasure not so much because they are appropriate for us as recipients but because the giver has put so much love into them. Think of the toddler offering his mother a dandelion, the older child who has carved his initials into a wooden paperweight, or the author who autographs the first copy of his book to present to his mentor. In the same way, God is delighted when we offer him what no one else can give: ourselves.
No one can praise God in quite the same way as you. No one can follow him down the exact same path. No one but you can love the same set of people. This is how we give Jesus a gift that fills him with delight.
“Lord Jesus, I give you my heart, the heart you created to love you.”~WAU