Tomorrow is Epiphany. It is so for those Christians who pay attention to dates that almost no one else does, at least in the United States.
Somebody — some clerk, probably — picked Jan. 6 to be Epiphany, the date when the wise men showed up. The date when the 12 days of Christmas are over.
It marks the time when the three weird wandering ones finally arrive with their gifts.
Late. After the initial excitement.
With only some of the facts.
Believing in a miracle that they won't be part of because of a science that hardly anyone understands.
Working within an existing political system till it doesn't work.
Dropping their impractical, costly stuff, which foretells death, on a tired young mother and a frazzled father, who have a new baby boy. Who have had odd visitors for all of their newborn's brief life, this child who was born in a stranger's stable during his parents' mandated journey.
So these three wandering ones leave dangerous, ominous, beautiful gifts. Then they slip out the back. Go home. Or at least away — by a different route than they came because they've figured out that the powers that be aren't happy about the story they've told. So they go.
At least nothing else is reported (Matthew 2:1-12). A drive-by worship. By unknown wealthy people from some unknown place to another unknown place, with a stop to say: This is God.
They intrigue me.
They come to check out a phenomenon, stay a moment to worship truth and light, leave their costly offerings and depart.
Like people who come to church only on Christmas and Easter?
Like me? Who comes wandering by, late, with only some of the facts, little context, but believes: This is God.
This is today's epiphany. From me, for me, and for you too.
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers