Matthew 2:1-12

The Epiphany is one of the grandest stories of gift-giving in the
world. The story has Hollywood proportions. Members of nobility
kneel before the young Christ child. The wise men—they travel
so far!—visit the palace, where the surprised and deceitful king
dispatches them to find this heaven-sent child. Guided by a star, they
fulfill their mission to honor the child, only to flee the country after-
ward, warned in a dream of the king’s evil intentions.

But on a simple, human level, if you’re Mary and Joseph—poor,
isolated from family, and once rejected by every inn in town—the
appearance of these royal emissaries with valuable gifts must have
meant the world. Their appearance and devotion assure the young
parents of God’s care for their child.

Has a friend ever shown up with dinner when you were sick? You know the feeling when someone remembers your birthday? Even a cup of coffee can change your life. When I was starting out, working for a large, national company, a revered senior team member brought me a latté one morning. “Is this how you like it?” He brought coffee to me? I was stunned by this simple, human act of hospitality.

Service takes many forms. Danny Meyer, considered one of New York City’s greatest restaurant entrepreneurs, says he practices the hospitality that’s vital in the service industry, not just with customers but with those who work for him. In Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business, he says, “Business, like life, is all about how you make people feel. It’s that simple, and it’s that hard.”

A simple message for large moments or small: service and hospitality are gifts worthy of giving to others.


What small act could you do today to practice hospitality or generosity?


God, thank you for the selfless example of Christ. Remind us that you call us to serve others in large and small ways. Help us visualize how we spread love when we act on this command. Amen.

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