When news slows down over the Christmas season, media outlets often resort to seasonal stock stories. A classic piece asks astronomers about the star that led the wise men to Bethlehem. Was it a comet? A meteor or supernova? As engaging as the scientific debate may be, it overlooks the powerful symbolism at the heart of the story.
For the wise men, the star is a beacon, a kind of spiritual GPS leading them to their encounter with the Word made flesh. There, they find the light of the world, a meeting that prompts them to kneel in homage, overwhelmed with joy. Forever changed by their experience, they seek out a fresh path.
The concept of a star of unique wattage is particularly appealing during a cold Canadian winter, when light is at a premium. The light at the heart of Epiphany, however, is not limited to time or place or season.
The word epiphany refers to a revelation or a shining forth. When the magi encounter the Christ child, they come face to the face with the fact that God so loved the world he sent his only son. It is a reality that brightens even in our darkest moments. As the wise men learned, God’s light is always ready to reveal for us a new and brighter path.