I have a few Nativity sets from different countries. Some, like the ones from Nigeria, the Congo, and El Salvador, have shepherds and magi at the manger. But others, like the ones from Bangladesh and Ecuador, have only magi at the manger. We celebrate the coming of the magi to visit Jesus on January 6th, the Festival of Epiphany. We remember those visitors bearing gifts were foreigners who had traveled to honor Jesus. Epiphany reminds us that God’s revelation comes to the whole world.
Some Epiphany traditions emphasize the Magi, while others emphasize Jesus’ Baptism. But what these and the season of Epiphany all have in common is that God’s presence is revealed. In Vacation Bible School at Trinity last summer, the children were invited to look for “God Sightings”– times and places where they recognized God acting around them—God’s presence revealed. These are actually Epiphanies, in a day-to-day encounter. It could be spectacular, like the birth of a baby, or ordinary, like a kind word said to them. Ask child who went to VBS about it. In the mean time, you can discover your own “God sightings” day by day—Epiphanies.