Is 60:1–6 NRSV – “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. 2 For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. 3 Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. 4 Lift up your eyes and look around; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far away, and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms. 5 Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice, because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. 6 A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the LORD.”
Summary – The Lord, through the Prophet addresses the mother-city, Jerusalem, in this striking prophecy (using feminine pronouns, “you/your”). Though darkness has rested on the peoples and it all seems bleak, just then the Lord will shine over the city and people. The nations will be gathered into her. As they do so their abundance will come in as well, “the wealth of the nations shall come to you.” Even more the sons and daughters of Israel return. This text is perfectly placed as a prophetic glimpse of Epiphany. It refers to the star over Bethlehem, as well as the visit of the magi (Matt. 2).
Insight – Sometimes people get very down after the holidays. Do you ever feel a let down after New Years? Now it’s time to put shoe leather to your aspirations of new year’s resolutions and ambitions to change in the next year. Sometimes just getting back to the ordinary routine can get you down. Even more, January may not be your favorite time of year, it’s darker and colder with inclement weather. It seems like a long stretch until spring. The promises above came to God’s people in the worst kind of January, in truly the darkest time. It looks to a time of exile when the faithful had been scattered and when the nation had lost stability. It promises that abundance will come. It is an anchor that holds steady the ship of faith, saying, there will be a return to Zion, sons and daughters, nations renewed, abundance and all of this in a time of darkness. I believe this is fulfilled through Christ and the Church. Over history there have been multitudes of peoples from all kinds of nations who have come to follow Jesus. As they have been converted they bring their abundances in wealth, language, culture and music. All because of the One born in Bethlehem under starlight, visited by the Magi.
Catechism – What does Epiphany mean? Epiphany means the light of Jesus shining to all people.
Discussion – What are some things about this time of year that may seem sad or dark to you?
Prayer – O GOD, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the Gentiles; Mercifully grant that we, who know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.