Epiphany is the climax of the Christmas season and the 12 days of Christmas.
The term epiphany means “to manifest” or “to show” and is usually associated with the
first manifestations of God in Christ – to the wise men, in his presentation in the temple,
in his baptism, with his disciples, and in his first miracle.
At Christmas and Epiphany, the church celebrates the universal impact of Jesus Christ: Jesus is the continuation of God’s steadfast covenant love with Israel, and yet the scope of God’s salvation extends to all of creation! We celebrate the in-breaking of the kingdom and ask, “How do we live in light of God’s new revelation and new community centered in his Son?”
Of course, God gives us signs all along of what God is doing: the prophet Isaiah tells the covenant people returning from exile to “rise and shine,” for although darkness covers the earth, and gloom over the nations, one day all nations will be drawn to the light of God’s salvation. Other prophets testify to this, and outsiders like Ruth and Rahab are welcomed into the royal line of the Messiah. All this goes before us, yet at Christmas and Epiphany, we see even more clearly the new thing God is doing in and through the person and work of his Son.
Some receive the good news with great joy! The shepherds rejoice and angels sing, “Come and worship, the new born King.” Wise men from the East follow the sign given to them and they come bearing gifts fit for a king-gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
But not all respond to the good news with great joy, for as we see with King Herod, the good news has its enemies. The darkness of Herod brings into sharper focus the conflict of kingdoms, revealing a world in desperate need of divine healing.
This Sunday, through the journey of the wise men, the church celebrates that God comes to us – to all of us – for our salvation! Let us be wise and plan well for the upcoming year: now is a good time to re-focus, centering ourselves in who God is, how God is at work in this world, and how we are to respond in light of God’s revelation in Christ Jesus!
What new thing is God revealing to us and our community?
See you on Sunday,