by Nancy Small

Isaiah 60:1-6 | Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6 | Matthew 2:1-12

Have you ever wondered why it is written in Scripture that those who followed the Epiphany star were wise? Perhaps it is because the Epiphany event is an encounter with holy Wisdom. Ponder, for a moment, this beautiful description of Wisdom:

“Wisdom is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of God’s goodness… She is more beautiful than the sun, and excels every constellation of the stars. Compared with the light she is found to be superior, for it is succeeded by the night but against Wisdom evil does not prevail.” (Wisdom 7:26, 29-30)

Jesus was born in the light of holy Wisdom, and he radiated it throughout his life. The light which illumines God’s holy mountain, the light that bathed us throughout our Advent journey, is the light of Wisdom. The Epiphany starlight which reaches into our hearts today traveled thousands of years before reaching us. We must see that this journey of light continues.


Speaking of Wisdom, the Tao te Ching (Book of the Way) says, “Approach and there is no beginning; follow and there is no end. You can’t know it, but you can be it, at ease in your own life. Just realize where you come from; this is the essence of wisdom.” Where we come from is the heart of Jesus. We are part of the Christian tradition which has kept the light of prophetic faith alive for over 2,000 years. Like the disciples before us, the light that shines in each of us isn’t perfect. It is incomplete. At times it feels dim. At other times, we try to hide it. And yet, when joined with the light of others, we become part of a holy constellation, reaching out to dispel hatred, fear and violence.

In today’s Scripture, Isaiah reminds us that we are to be bearers of this light, saying, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of God has risen upon you.” We are to continue the journey as bearers of the light. We are to be spotless mirrors of the workings of our God, actively reflecting the light of Wisdom in our living and loving, in our words and actions, to our families and friends, to strangers and enemies, at the center and margins of our lives. The light we are called to bear is nothing less than the fire that purifies, cleanses and reduces injustice to ashes. For it is the fire of holy Wisdom, against which evil cannot prevail.

This reflection is from Illuminating the Passage Within: Advent Reflections 1998. Nancy Small is a Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace and the former national coordinator of Pax Christi USA.

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