Today is the Epiphany, the day when the Magi visited the Christ Child. I stole this story from today’s Forward Day by Day. It brings tears to the eye. One of the things I like most about being an Episcopalian is Twelve Days of Christmas!
We give gifts at Christmas because the Magi brought gifts to the Christ Child. They gave gold, frankincense, and myrrh – treasures.
To me this is the reason we give the very best at Christmas – we give what is near and dear – we give treasures. If all one can afford is a hand-written note, that is a treasure. If one can afford gold, frankincense, and myrrh and give just a note after having been given something “dear”, it is an insult.
The greatest gift ever given – ever, was God’s gift of His only begotten Son. When we are selfish in our giving, we insult that gift.
On a Christmas Day more than twenty years ago, I watched seven people slip inside the front door of the nave during the last hymn of the eucharist. The women and girls were well-dressed and each wore a corsage. “We are Muslim, from Turkey. We don’t know what to do,” one of the women said. “We know this is Jesus’ birthday. We wanted to be in God’s house and honor Jesus and Maria.”
What an unexpected delight! I took them on a tour of the church explaining the stained glass windows, the objects and symbols of our faith, and answered their many questions. The woman interpreted for the young ones who knew no English. They were most visibly impressed with the crèche. When it was time to conclude, we thanked each other, and I gave each of them a candle and a poinsettia. They asked if they might leave something as well. One by one, each of them removed her corsage and laid it before the crèche. Soon, they were out the door into the cold. I felt I had met the magi.