Epiphany – An Invitation to Follow Jesus

by Christine Sine
The coming of the Magi

The coming of the Magi

Tomorrow is the Eve of Epiphany, the last evening of the Christmas season. The following day, January 6th is Epiphany. In the past I have written morning and evening prayers for this coming season, but this year have spent most of my time reflecting on the implications of this season for my life and ministry.

As I wrote in my Epiphany post a couple of years ago:

We have watched and waited through Advent, we have celebrated Christmas and the joy of our Saviour’s birth and now we are being asked to follow, to recognize the revelation of Christ in our midst and journey into the new life he offers us.

The question that has revolved in my is What does the new life of God look like? Where am I following Christ to?

These questions are particularly pertinent as I am also rereading Ann Voskamp’s wonderful book  One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.  Ann points out that the first sin of Adam and Eve in the garden was ingratitude, dissatisfaction with all that God had gifted them with. She contends that the key to finding the fullness of life that God intends for us is learning to be grateful for every moment and every circumstance.

I have lived pain, and my life can tell: I only deepen the wounds of the world when I neglect to give thanks for early light dappled through leaves and the heavy perfume of wild roses in early July… and all the good things that God gives…. rejecting joy to stand in solidarity with the suffering doesn’t rescue the suffering. The converse does. The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to all the world. When we lay the soil of our hard lives open to the rain of grace and let joy penetrate our cracked and dry places, let joy soak into our broken skin and deep crevices, life grows…..

The only real prayers are the ones mouthed with thankful lips. Because gratitude ushers into the other side of prayer, into the heart of the God-love, and all power to change the world, me, resides here in his love. (p58,60)

The season of Epiphany is an invitation to follow Jesus into the ways of gratitude and joy,. We are no longer bound by the dissatisfaction of our consumer culture that tells us to keep striving for more stuff, more success, more money, more of everything for myself. Instead we are invited to learn to live in the joy and contentment of seeing every moment as a gift from God. As Paul encourages us:

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice… Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand. (Phil 4:4, 6-7)

And again

Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:4,5)

So as we move into Epiphany this year let us do so with joy and gratitude, savouring each moment God gives us as precious gift. Let us show others that we really are content with God alone and need nothing more than the love of God to fill us with joy and gratitude.

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Stacy Morgan January 4, 2012 - 9:19 am

Our family celebrates Epiphany with three gifts and a family breakfast. We’ve been doing this now for years in order to avoid the consumerism and hype that was Christmas. We now use Christmas as a time to serve and worship. Thanks for your wonderful piece. I have met Ann at Calvin’s Festival of Faith and Writing and love the quote you used of hers. Here’s what I wrote today to my friends about our Epiphany this year:

“Waiting expectantly for Epiphany…the day when expectation meets experience. Historically, a day when the wise men took what they knew (a Savior was born) and traveled to meet Him face to face. It is my yearly reminder to embrace with my heart what I have studied to be true…that knowing the Christ Child constitutes life, breath, peace, and ultimate joy. Friday, I will celebrate with family and a full heart!”

Christine Sine January 4, 2012 - 9:27 am

Stacy what a great idea. I agree with you that the best way to avoid the hype of consumerism is to establish a new rhythm that is disconnected from that of the consumer culture. And thank you for your beautiful words at the end of your comment. May Epiphany be a wonderful celebration and renewal of your life in Christ

Brian O'Connell January 4, 2012 - 11:42 am

Thanks, Christine

As you and Tom might remember, for the past 20+ years Christine and I we have had an Epiphany Open House at the O’Connell home. Friends and family from every sector of our lives (work, school, neighborhood, church, etc.) are invited to come and join in our “festival of lights” celebrating the pursuit of the wise men after Jesus. Most years we get around 100 people through our small abode! It is a wonderful way of demonstrating that relationships are the important thing to us and also allows us a seasonal rhythm that is quite different than the chaotic pressure forced on us by the culture.

Would love to have you and Tom pop in (it is an Open House after all!). Let me know if for some reason you didn’t get an invitation.

Christine Sine January 4, 2012 - 12:55 pm

Brian thanks for the reminder. I do remember being blessed by attending your open house in the past. I don’t think that we got an invite for this year though

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