Today is the Feast Day of Epiphany, the traditional date when the Magi arrived to see the Christ-child. This date in the church calendar celebrates the revelation of Jesus to the world (not just the people of Israel) as symbolized by the Gentile wise men who were "invited" from the East by a star. The Magi were distinguished foreigners who first go to Jerusalem, where the religious leaders pointed them to Bethlehem. Interestingly, the religious leaders misquote the prophecy from Micah (cp. Matthew 2:6 and Micah 5:2). Nevertheless, they get Bethlehem right, and so the Magi make the short jounrey from Jerusalem to Bethlehem to see this newborn king.
Below is a poem I wrote to capture the expansion of Christ's Kingdom to include all the world. I draw a parallel between the Gentile Egyptians in Exodus and the coming of the Gentile Magi in Matthew 2. In Exodus 12:35-36, the Egyptians gave the exiting Israelites precious gifts (gold and silver jewlery and fine linens), some of which was used to make the Ark of the Covenant and the furniture for the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle means "God dwells with us." In Matthew, the Gentile Magi also give gifts, willingly and in worship, to Immanuel--"God with us!" Like the Magi, we are invited to come, and like them, we receive more than we give. In this poem, I examine this shift from gift giving to recieving the greatest gift, Jesus Christ. He is God with us.
Here is the final video from my advent poetry series. In this episode, I read two poems reflecting on Mary, the mother of Jesus. Within Protestant circles, Mary is often overlooked. However, she stands as a beautiful example of grace, humility, and faith. I hope and pray you will be blessed by this reflection. Merry Christmas!
In this Christmas poem, "A winter feast," I embed a line from C.S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, where he describes Narnia before the coming of Aslan as "always winter but never Christmas." My poem is about what our lives are like before Christ breaks in and changes our cold, dark December into a merry time of lights, beauty, joy, and peace. I hope you enjoy it!
During a fresh morning snowfall, I took the opportunity to read a couple of my Advent poems from my new book of poetry, "Undiminished Returns: Poems of a Christian Life" (H&E Publishing 2020). Enjoy these wintery readings!
Jeremy W. Johnston
Christian, husband, father, teacher, writer.
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