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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Feast of the Epiphany

Today is the final highlight of the Christmas Season, the Feast of the Epiphany, which celebrates the journey of the Magi, the 'Three Kings' or 'Wise men' to visit the child Jesus. Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio explains the background of this celebration in Scripture and tradition.
In chapter 60 of Isaiah (Is 60:1-6), it is predicted that at a time of darkness, the glory of the Lord will shine over Jerusalem. The heavenly light will be a beacon to the pagan nations and even to their kings. Here we find mention of camels whose job it will be to bring the wealth of these nations, including frankincense and gold, to the city of the Lord. Psalm 72 agrees that far off kings will bring gifts to the Son of David.

The Star that draws the Magi to Judea has long been a subject of wonder and scientific curiosity as explained in this USA Today article.
As told in the Gospel of Matthew, a star marked the birth of Jesus and led wise men, or Magi, from the East to present the child with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Their arrival in Bethlehem is celebrated by Western Christians on Epiphany, or the 12th Day of Christmas.

For centuries, the star has intrigued astronomers, historians, artists and theologians alike: was it a one-time miracle, a literary myth, or was it an actual astronomical occurrence?
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