*By Paul Ejime
In the literary sense, Epiphany relates to a “moment of sudden and great revelation or realisation.”
On the other hand, Christians round off the Octave (eight days after Christmas), with the celebration of the Epiphany or Theophany, Hebrew for the Manifestation or Revelation of God incarnate in Infant Jesus.
But amidst the celebrations and focus on how the Magi or the Three Wise Men from the East followed the Star to locate Mary and Baby Jesus, there could be a tendency to ignore or down play the role of King Herod.
The revelation of Baby Jesus brought great joy, first to the shepherds and then the rest of World.
However, the lessons of King Herod of that time still resonates with us today.
There are King Herod’s characteristics in most of us, which we must do away with.
Scripture says that on learning that a new King was born, “Herod was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him…”
Herod became very jealous and envious. He pretended as though he wanted to “pay homag” to the newly born King, but as revealed later, his plan was to eliminate the child and all opposition to his kingship.
But God works in mysterious ways!
Herod had wanted the Magi to return to him, but they were warned in their dream to follow a different route home.
Herod’s wickedness and hatred knew no bounds. They pushed him to conceive and execute a heinous crime of killing the innocents – all infants with the hope of eliminating King Jesus.
But God’s plan again prevailed. Joseph and Mary had been instructed by an Angel to flee with their son, little King Jesus to Egypt where they stayed until the death of Herod.
It is very easy to condemn King Herod. But are we any better, the way we relate with our neighbours, friends, family members, colleagues and let alone those we consider as enemies?
Are we not jealous and envious of those progressing more than we do, or colleagues getting promotions at work, which we think they do not deserve?
Are we not jealous or envious of others for their achievements, successes, progress or acquisitions?
It only takes the grace of God to stop hatred, envy, jealousy or covetousness from escalating to deadly crimes such mass murder committed by Herod.
There is nothing wrong with healthy competitions or drawing inspiration from the achievements of others.
But there is a world of difference between genuine desire to genuinely match or exceed the achievements of others and being consumed by greed, envy, jealousy or covetousness, which can lead to criminality.
The good news is that we can help our Godly cause by being happy and satisfied for who and what we are, and what we have, knowing that all we have and are comes from God.
Contentment breeds happiness, joy and peace of mind. It also triggers gratitude, which can only make God to do more for us.
As we launch into New Year 2022 and beyond, may God purge us of all Herod characters/tendencies and increase our gratitude attitude to turn the little we receive from Him into the Mighty we expect, according to His Riches in Glory. Amen!