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Wise men still seek him, wise guys don’t

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As we contemplate another holiday season of Christmas and the beginning of a New Year 2021, I want to draw our attention to a holiday that is often overlooked: the feast of Epiphany on January 6th.

In the Eastern Church tradition, it marks the commemoration of the baptism of the Lord Jesus by His cousin John the Baptist in the Jordan River.

In the Western Church tradition, it marks the commemoration of the visitation of the Magi (Wise Men) from the East to the Newborn Babe.

I want us to look as an example for our contemporary lives this visitation of these Wise Men as an example of putting the wisdom and the resources of this world to seeking truth and understanding in the Person Who is the very incarnation of Truth: Jesus Christ.

In St. Matthew’s Gospel (2:1-2:12), we read that magi came to worship Him after seeing His star in the East.

The Magi were most probably Zoroastrian priests from Persia (modern day Iran). Sometimes “magoi” (in Greek) would be translated as magi, kings, magicians, or wise men.

These wise men used the astronomical tools of their day to chart a celestial star which would signify the birth of the most important person to ever be born of a woman.

They used their resources of time to travel from Orient afar to Bethlehem to worship Him and to offer Him of their earthly treasures with offerings of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Are we acting as wise people today with what we are focusing on, spending our time doing, and making use of the material gifts that we have been entrusted by God to manage?

The Wise Men give us good examples of what it means to seek truth no matter what the cost, to have faith to traverse the globe in search of it, and to humbly acknowledge it once we have found it.

In many ways, the Wise Men provide us with the crux of the meaning of Christian stewardship: worship of God and offering back to Him everything that we have been given to manage by Him as an act of worship of Him.

When the tinsel has come down off the tree and the lights are put away until next year, remember the greatest gift that God the Father ever gave His creation which is His Son Jesus.

We have been through a lot as a society in 2020: pandemic, economic downturn, and social isolation.

God knows what awaits us in 2021.

May our collective prayer be that we be granted the wisdom and the discernment to make the right decisions in our lives.

If anything has been learned as a result of 2020, it should be that we need Him and we need others to be blessed and to be a blessing.

In Proverbs 4:6-7 we read, “Do not forsake wisdom and she will protect you; love her and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all that you have, get understanding.”

Remember that wise people still seek Him, but wise guys still don’t.

John G.Panagiotou is a theologian and scholar. He is the author of the book The Path to Oikonomia with Jesus Christ as Our Lighthouse. Dr. Panagiotou holds dual professorships at Erskine Theological Seminary and Cummins Memorial Theological Seminary.