image of three wise men travelling

A Cold Epiphany

My mind has very much been with the extreme cold weather and how it’s affecting folks with no home. I’ve also been consumed with the thought of yesterday being known as ‘Epiphany’ Sunday in the Christian calendar. It’s a day when we remember that the baby Jesus was being visited and given gifts by Zoroastrian magicians. We refer to these guys as Magi or ‘The Three Wise Men’, though there’s never any mention of just 3.
Epiphany Day is the culmination of the Advent and Christmas seasons. On this Day, also known sometimes as ‘Three Kings Day’, we remember the gifts of gold, incense and myrrh the Gentile magi brought to the Saviour of the world in that manger.
Epiphany is relevant because it is a day for us to remember that Jesus came for the WHOLE world; for ALL people. The word ‘Epiphany’ means ‘manifestation’; in this context demonstrating that Jesus revealed Himself not just for Israelite people but for everyone. God revealed Himself to people of another faith, these Zoroastrian magicians, by placing a star in the sky for them to follow all the way to where Jesus was. Then they offered Him gifts as a sign of respect and praise, and worshipped Him.
This whole story is designed to show us that Jesus came for all of us.
It is a day meant to challenge us to heal all wounds and divisions created due to prejudice and bigotry.
It is a day meant for unity under one King, one Ruler, one Saviour, who loves us all without any consideration of our nationality, colour, income, orientation, gender, political or religious beliefs.
It is a day of hope that one day, everything will be made right once and for all.
Our January missional theme is our mission statement which, as a reminder, is: The Salvation Army exists to share the love of Jesus Christ, meet human needs, and be a transforming influence in the communities of our world.
During this cold snap, we’ve been living out this statement in very powerful ways. Our shelters are full. We’ve opened a 24/7-winter drop-in. TSA is serving all the meals at the newly opened Moss Park armouries. And we are opening a brand new 60-bed shelter for men in Leslieville. We are showing Jesus’ love to ALL people, regardless of who they are, what they might believe, or where they’ve come from.
The Epiphany is a good idea to focus on during this season and in our work at THHS. I am thankful for the example of equality that these very unlikely foreigners, these magicians, have left us. Let’s remember this story as we continue to strive to be ‘The Hand of God in the Heart of the City’.

Holy God,
You gather the whole universe
into your radiant presence
and continually reveal your Son as our Savior.
Bring healing to all wounds,
make whole all that is broken,
speak truth to all illusion,
and shed light in every darkness,
that all creation will see your glory,
(from here)
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