Isaiah 60:1-6

“1 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.” NRSV

Today is Epiphany, the day of the Church Year when we celebrate the visit of the wise men to the manger.

This passage from Isaiah celebrates God’s redemption of the people of Israel by liberating them from exile. Jesus’ birth, quite appropriately, is understood to be God’s redemption of the world by liberating the people from the corrosive power of sin and the fear of death.

You will note in verse 6 that the gifts the world brings to honor God’s actions are akin to the ones the wise men brought to the baby Jesus. This ties the two events together in an unmistakable way. God is and always has been in the business of redeeming God’s people. Parental love is a remarkable power.

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