Seeing God

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

January 3, 2021- The Epiphany of the Lord - Matthew 2:1-12

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He came to be seen. But not as one hoping to hear the cheers of the crowds. Not to receive the wealth of a head of state. Not to gain the attention given to a great king. But rather as one of us. An ordinary person. A remarkable person to be sure. But never wanting the spotlight to shine on him and him alone.

Today we are reminded of some of the first humans to see the Word of God made flesh. To see the appearance (that’s what the word, epiphany means) of God in human form. Yet what they saw was simply a newborn child, who looked quite like all the babies born at that time. But in reality, he was so different. For they were seeing God, the creator of the entire universe, as an infant.

Like those magi I have long been drawn to the stars. We live in a time when we are learning so much about the magnitude, the extent, the history of all creation. (At least that part of it that we can see and measure.) All of it came from the mind and heart of God – that same person that slept on a bed of straw before those stargazers from the East.

What contrast. What mystery. Yet it was God’s intent to appear before humankind not as someone commanding awe and wonder, but as an infant, just as we once were, to inform us that God is not just above and around us, but also in us. We breathe with the life of God as created beings – just as did Jesus. Each of us contains a divine identity, a divine purpose, a divine spark.

When I look into the night sky on a clear winter night, I see maybe a thousand stars. They are each burning suns, like ours, some much larger, and some not. But I also know from recent astronomical research that there are billions and billions of suns in the known universe. Our sun is like a grain of sand on a huge beach. And our planet Earth, hardly visible in that scene. Yet, it was to that Earth that the God of all creation chose to be born, to appear and live among us and to make it possible for us to live with God forever.

What a great story this feast contains. The incredible contrast between large and small, divine and human. But all drawn together in the appearance of God in human form. This scene can provide us with enough to ponder and think about for as long as we exist. God appeared as human so that we would know that we are created to be with God (and who knows what else?). Even after the universe of stars have spent their fuel, we will be!

©David M. Thomas, PhD


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