“Arise, shine; for your light has come”*
“He knew that all was well, because he had done the best that he could, from day to day. He had been true to the light that had been given to him. He had looked for more. And if he had not found it, if a failure was all that came out of his life, doubtless that was the best that was possible. He had not seen the revelation of “life everlasting, incorruptible and immortal.” But he knew that even if he could live his earthly life over again, it could not be otherwise than it had been.”
–Henry Van Dyke, The Story of the Other Wise Man
Today is the feast of Epiphany, celebrating the ‘shining forth’ or revelation of God to mankind in human form, in the person of Jesus Christ. The observance had its origins in the eastern Christian church, and included the birth of Jesus Christ, the visit of the three Magi who arrived in Bethlehem, and all of Jesus’ childhood events, up to his baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist. The visit of the Magi is traditionally interpreted as symbolic of God’s revelation of himself to the Gentiles.
I think I will re-read the short book The Story of the Other Wise Man written in 1896 by Henry Van Dyke, Presbyterian minister and Princeton graduate. It was a great favorite of our mother. It is a wonderful of story of the fourth wise man, who sets out to see the newborn king, carrying treasures to give as gifts–a sapphire, a ruby, and a “pearl of great price.” But he gets side-tracked on the way to Bethlehem. His journey lengthens and he finally finds Jesus as he is crucified.
“I do not know where this little story came from,” said Van Dyke, “out of the air, perhaps. One thing is certain, it is not written in any other book, nor is it to be found among the ancient lore of the East. And yet I have never felt as if it were my own. It was a gift, and it seemed to me as if I knew the Giver.”