On a dark and stormy night in South Africa my brother and I were home alone. Our parents had gone to run some quick errands and said they would be back soon. As can happen, a thunderstorm seemed to spring up from nowhere. The thunder was so loud that is made the ground shake and the lightening turned the night sky to daylight.
My brother and I did our best not to let on to the other just how uneasy or anxious we were feeling when the phone rang. My brother answered the phone to find Desmond Tutu on the other end. My brother explained that Dad was not home and that it was just the two of us at home. Whether it was intuition or the tone in my brother’s voice that tipped Desmond off to the fact that we were quite anxious being alone in a thunderstorm, he stayed on the phone talking to my brother about his day, school and almost anything else to keep him occupied and distracted from the worry of the storm. Soon enough our anxiety eased, and our parents returned home.
Epiphany is when we hear of how the wise men came to visit Jesus. They bring with them gold, frankincense, and myrrh to offer as gifts to the newborn baby and his parents. At face value these are rather peculiar gifts to offer a baby. It is not until we hear the rest of the story and life that ultimately leads to the cross that we discover the significance of these three gifts. For it is gold that is traditionally offered to a king. Frankincense is offered in the presence of deity and myrrh is used to anoint the dead.
In the same way that a phone call was an unexpected gift, what are the unexpected gifts that have found meaning with you? Epiphany provides us with an opportunity to reflect on these gifts, gifts that may seem insignificant or unexpected at the time; yet hold significance for years to come.