“When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.” Matthew 2:10-12
On January 6, the Church celebrates Epiphany. Epiphany is the recognition of the day the three Magi arrived to Jesus. Jesus was probably a three-year-old by the time Gaspar (or Caspar), Melchior, and Balthasar arrived to Jesus.
In art we often see depictions of this moment of three acclaimed men- maybe kings, or sorcerers, or scientists- but three important people from a faraway land came and gave gold, frankincense and myrrh to Jesus, this clean perfect little baby.
I challenge you to think realistically about the moment these three Magi delivered their gifts. These acclaimed leaders left their homes. They traveled for years in not very glamorous conditions. They spoke with King Herod. They faced political barriers. They were expecting to come to a King.
Instead, they showed up to a toddler. Jesus did not live in a castle. Jesus wasn’t well read or educated; he was a toddler. Anyone who has experienced a toddler knows the tornado of mess and energy that comes with them. These travelers came and found what they did not expect.
Didn’t they say, “forget it,” and walk away? Did they keep the valuable gifts they brought and think, ‘we are grown adults. We can make better use of the valuables than some toddler.’
No. They completed their task. They finished their journey. Then they went on their next journey.
You may have been on a journey only to arrive and it not seem like what you expected. You might be disappointed. Maybe you expected to get straight A’s last semester and you didn’t. Maybe you thought you would have an epic new year and it is falling flat.
Today I challenge all of us to complete our journey. It might not be what we imagined, but it is ours. Maybe the unexpected will turn out to be more than we thought. Maybe we will find our purpose in the journey.
God, you are with us in every journey. Sometimes the journey is fun. Sometimes the journey is difficult. But, thank you God that in the journey we are never alone. Make us brave to continue, and courageous no matter what we find. Amen.
Founded in 1960, Berkeley is an independent, Episcopal, college-preparatory day school located in Tampa, FL, for boys and girls in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 12. Approximately 1,400 students gather here from the greater Tampa Bay area to form ONE Berkeley.