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Epiphany: Come to me, every tribe and nation

For what may have been years, the three magi traveled to meet the Christ child. Such a trip requires many sacrifices. They left their palaces to live in tents. Their soft beds were replaced with sleeping mats on the ground. They traded rich feasts for campfire meals. Long-distance travel at that time was far from quick and often fraught with danger. 

They gave up their comfortable accommodations for the hope of something better. Hope that they would see the salvation of the world before their very eyes. 

Refugees share some commonalities with the magi. In refugee camps, they often sleep in tents or homemade structures. Some depend on grass roofs and dirt floors, which make the rainy season difficult. Meals are hard to come by and lack nutritional value. Children are born, raised and sometimes married in these conditions. The average time spent in a refugee camp is ten years.

With only the guiding star of hope, these dreamers trade their comforts for a better life free from persecution, war and political upheaval. 

“I chose the freedom – free to pray, free to go anywhere. Especially for my children,” shares Suzan, a Christian who faced religious persecution.

Suzan is hugged by her children Seti and William.

While not in a refugee camp, she still waited for 12 years for the Lord to answer her prayer of a safe place for her family to practice their faith. Finally in 2023, she was welcomed to Spokane alongside her two children. 

Like refugees, the magi were foreigners traveling through distant lands. Although their journeys are different, both the magi and refugees seek freedom. The magi sought freedom from evil and death, a king who would introduce a whole new era. Refugees seek freedom from persecution and violence. 

Christ makes it clear in the Great Commission that salvation is for all people…even the Gentiles. 

Most of us reading this are Gentiles, i.e., non-Jews. During Epiphany, we celebrate the invitation of God for all nations to join in the wedding feast of heaven. All are welcome. 

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” 

Matthew 28:19

Come to me 

We ourselves are Gentiles, summoned from distant lands to see the holy child. God has called us to himself, not by a star, but by other ways, both ordinary and extraordinary. With this knowledge, it is impossible for us not to take delight in the grand celebration of Epiphany! God has opened the doors of salvation to all people! 

Christ calls all people to himself. At the airport, at the bus stop, in the car on the way to a medical appointment; each place we find ourselves encountering another soul made in the image of God. In these encounters with the Imago Dei, the love of Christ is given the opportunity to transform us for the better spiritually, but also socially and mentally. 

Christ fled to Egypt as a refugee. During his ministry, he spoke kindly to the foreigner, to the hated Samaritan, to the Roman centurion. Jesus calls us to do the same. In Scripture, he says, “Come to me.” He repeats it to us in our churches and in our homes. 

Come to me. 

Through the star, he says this to the wise men. 

Come to me. 

To those who live in tents and mansions. 

Come to me. 

To those who travel long distances. 

Come to me. 

To every tongue, tribe and nation. 

Come to me. 

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