Epiphany: the manifestation of the glory of God! Scripture is packed with a overabundance of epiphanies: from the creation accounts in Genesis to the visions unveiled in Revelation. In them the power and glory (along with the mercy) of God is made known.
In Matthew's account, Jesus and Mary together are the glory of God. Before both of them, the wise ones bow and offer homage. The baby and mother, as a pair, manifest God's presence and power. In their innocence and vulnerability, in their apparent weakness, we see the heart of God. Through servitude and sacrifice, God's redemptive purpose would be and has been accomplished.
The old adage, "No one stands so tall as when one stoops to help a child," portrays one aspect of human glory. Matthew's revelation of magi worshiping child and mother is yet another instance of the glory of God.
Lord God, Jesus is the true manifestation of your glory, and for him we praise you. Give us eyes to behold and minds to perceive your glory, even in those around us—those who are simply and beautifully humble as Mary was. Your glory surrounds us. Your heart beats in every one of us. Amen.
Matthew 2:1-12 (NRSV)
1 In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,
2 asking, "Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage."
3 When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him;
4 and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.
5 They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
6 'And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.'"
7 Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared.
8 Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage."
9 When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was.
10 When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.
11 On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
12 And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.