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Christmas is about to end, with this Feast of the Epiphany. In our country, we call this the Feast of the Three Kings, actually wise men from the east who travelled far to visit the Christ-Child.

But as we are about to close the Christmas season, our brothers and sisters belonging to the Orthodox faith, using another calendar, will only start to celebrate Christmas. In my hometown, when I was young, the old people used to say that real Christmas is to be celebrated on Three Kings, because then the Nativity scene is complete with all its characters around the Baby Jesus.

The kings, or wise men, became prominent because of the significance of their gifts. Though we cannot ascertain how many wise men came to visit the Lord, we are sure that there were three types of gifts, now recounted in the gospel. These were gold, frankincense and myrrh. We remember these kings because of their gifts.

Gold is an offering that identifies the Child as the True King of the world. Frankincense is an aromatic ingredient that is burned at the altar of sacrifice, now experienced in our church through incense. This signifies that the Child is the True Priest who will offer our prayers to God’s throne. Incense actually signifies the prayers of the people rising up to heaven, in every Mass or liturgy we celebrate. Myrrh is a bitter drink that points to the destiny of the Child as one who will die on the cross. He is therefore the One and Only Savior of the world.

The gifts do tell us a lot about the Christ Child and the kings or wise men who presented them. but there is something else these wise men signify, not by their gifts but by their lives. The gospel says they were looking for the Child “to do him homage.” What is homage? In ancient times, it was an act of reverence, respect, submission – a bow of the head or as the gospel says, prostration on the ground. To do homage to a person is to acknowledge his superiority over you, to desire that his will, not yours, be done.

The wise men invite us today to do homage to the Lord. But in practical ways how do we do it?

I think we are called to do homage by honoring God in our lives each day. As Catholics, we flock to church on feast days like Christmas and yet ignore the rest of the year. We do homage to God when we return to adore him in the ways he has given us – the sacraments. Sunday Mass, confession, Marriage, and the others that connect us with the God of our lives. As we end this Christmas season, may we have a stronger desire to adore and love God by worshipping him in our community.

Worship is primary but not exclusive. We need to honor God in our lives but finding ways to serve and love him in others. like the kings, let our lives be changed not temporarily in this season, but for good. May we return to our normal lives ready to love and serve the people around us. Amen.