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A Time of Joy and Light

posted Dec 24, 2009, 11:14 AM by Unknown user
The season of rushing to prepare for Christmas will soon be over.  In the traditional celebrations of the Christian year, it is time for the celebration of Epiphany.  The word Epiphany means "manifestation or appearance" and is closely associated with revelation of Jesus Christ in connection with the visit of the Magi or Wise Men.  Contrary to what is heard in familiar Christmas narratives, the Wise Men followed the brilliant star for many months until it brought them to Jesus' home when he was about two years old.  Epiphany is January 6 but most churches do not mark this with a mid-week service, but celebrate Epiphany Sunday.

This event, the manifestation of Jesus to the Magi, was a sighting of God in the flesh and is remembered during the dark days of winter, following the start of the New Year.  This is not the only epiphany we are aware of.  Our lives may be filled with other "appearances" when we suddenly see the revelation of God in our lives, whether in the midst of routine experiences or in Scripture.  It is a time of joy and light, when suddenly nothing matters except the awareness that God does reveal Himself often when we least expect it.  It is as if the darkness is dramatically dispersed by light.  God is here, whether we see Him or not, but once in a while He appears and our breath is taken away by the surprise.

In my life I have experienced epiphanies.  Most recent was this week when I encountered a nurse in a hospital who was filled with the love of God and beautifully demonstrated great compassion to the person she was caring for.  Over a decade ago I used to drive north of Route 411 between Fairmount and Ranger, Georgia on the final five miles of my lengthy daily commute to seminary.  On day the skies were clear I would look for a particular place where I could glimpse Fort Mountain in the distance near Chatsworth and it's majestic appearance for just a few seconds was an awesome epiphany, reminding me that God was with me on this terrifying, tedious and terrific journey of faith.

As we begin a New Year, let us start it by being very aware of God in our midst.

God of Advent, of waiting and hoping, keep our hearts expectant and ready for your coming among us, God of Christmas, of celebration and rejoicing, make our hearts glad with the joy nothing can take from us, God of Epiphany, of hiding and making known, fill our hearts with wonder at the revelation of your glory that we have seen in Christ our Lord.

Have  a blessed New Year in 2010.

Pastor Beth