In the weeks following Christmas we are all about light. Since the winter solstice the earth has turned southward on its rotational axis and the days have started lengthening. But our worship on the Sundays after Epiphany also basks in the theme of light, divine light.
This theme was first announced at Christmas, where God’s light came into the world through the birth of the Christ Child. Then, on the Feast of the Epiphany, three astrologers from the East, representing seekers from the Gentile world, followed a star which lead them to Bethlehem and to God’s revelation through Christ.
For the early church this was a way of describing their experience of the Good News. A Jewish Messiah, fulfilling Jewish hopes, had been enthusiastically embraced by the Gentile world. The Magi represent this world, following its own light (associated with astrology) to a greater light, the light of God’s Chosen One, which would illuminate people of all tribes and races.
In our own time, we recall that the light we receive through Christ is a light intended not for hiding and keeping for ourselves, but for illuminating the world. It is a light not merely for our own private use, to guide our feet along life’s dark pathway, but a light to share with others. This is not to say our job is to make the whole world Christian, but more to say that our faith has a purpose beyond our own salvation: and that is to benefit the world.