Sunday was the Feast of Epiphany, when Western Christianity commemorates the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child. The Magi honored the infant king with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and that got me wondering:
How do those of us who call ourselves Christians honor Christ each day in our own lives?
Perhaps we go to church each week, pray daily, and read the Bible regularly—all of these are good things, but are they enough?
The Prophet Micah asked God what kind of honor is required: “With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high?” (Micah 6:6)
And God’s reply?
“What does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)
Jesus himself is even clearer when he describes the judgement:
The King will say to those at his right hand, “Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?” And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:34-40)
This is how we honor Christ: when we see him in the least among us and act accordingly.
January is Poverty Awareness Month. As we think of the Christ Child’s birth in a stable, with no real roof over his head and no crib but a box of hay and we think of the Magi who humbled themselves before him and presented him with lavish gifts let’s pause and think of all the children living in poverty today. Ours is the wealthiest nation on earth and yet every day children are hungry and homeless. This is a great dishonor to the one who took on our humanity and came among us as a poor child himself.
So what are we going to do about it?