Sunday, January 6, 2019

A Reminder For The Feast Of The Epiphany

     Today Christians celebrate the Epiphany – in the East also known as the Theophany – upon which the Magi, three Zoroastrian nobles, came upon the Christ Child and gifted Him with gold, frankincense, and myrrh. I’ve discoursed upon the significance of those three gifts before. Each one is a marker of sorts, intended to underscore Christ’s status and mission on Earth.

     The Hebrews of the First Century, when talking of the Messiah, envisioned a temporal ruler. King Herod, who ruled them as a puppet of the Roman Empire, was extremely jealous of his position and his power. He would brook no challenge to it, least of all from a newborn child. When the Magi told him of their quest for the “King of the Jews,” he responded with the massacre of all male children in Bethlehem who were two years old or younger.

     That’s how temporal power always responds to the emergence of an alternate form of authority.

     Christianity is under attack all over the world, including in the United States. Here it’s assailed verbally by militant atheists. In other countries the assaults are often deadly, such that Christian communities in such lands are rapidly disappearing. While Christ Himself told us that we would be defamed and persecuted for His sake, it’s still a tragedy that should be fought by all men of good will.

     Yet they who are in the vanguard of such persecutions will routinely deny that it’s taking place. “You’re free to worship as you please, aren’t you?” they sneer, as they strive to drive Christ, faith in Him, and His Gospel out of the public square – indeed, to make it unacceptable to profess Christ anywhere outside a church or one’s home. Even saying “Merry Christmas!” will evoke their ire. Santa Claus good; the Christ Child bad.

     But Saint Nicholas didn’t die for anyone’ sins. Christ did. And that, in my opinion, is what drives the militant atheists absolutely wild: the suggestion that their Redemption, which they disbelieve, came through the Sacrifice of a Person of God, Whom they deny ever existed.

     Jesus Christ and we who love Him threaten no one’s personal accomplishments, material gains, or temporal power. Yet He is the most hated Person ever to have lived, for the whole of the two millennia behind us. Millions have been killed in part or whole to extinguish faith in Him. Even so, there have never been more Christians. Despite the efforts of His enemies, faith in Him is swelling in an unprecedented fashion.

     Pretzelly, isn’t it?

     I wasn’t going to post anything today. I’ve been exceedingly weary, sorely tried by some domestic difficulties that have proved obstructive of my normal mode of existence and expensive to remedy. But the Epiphany always draws me out.

     My chores beckon, so I shan’t ramble on further. Have a little music instead:

     And may God bless and keep you all.

1 comment:

Linda Fox said...

In church today, I was thinking about the way that the word Epiphany has morphed into meaning a generic, sudden, Gestalt moment.

Wokedness, if you will.

That's the ONLY meaning that the average person has of the word. I just checked - it's # 171 on the SAT Words list -

The meaning they give is 'sudden realization'. There is NO reference to the use of the term in Christian theology or history.

They are working overtime to take away the meaning of normal English words, and transform them into a bland, religiously-disconnected usage. This is likely NOT by accident, but by deliberate design.