There are only a few more days to the Christmas season. Sunday evening we celebrate the Eve of Epiphany which is the twelfth and last day of Christmas. This is when we celebrate the revelation of Christ’s divinity and the ways that he both was and is still revealed in our world:
- First in the revelation to the Magi, gentile wise men, who, guided by the mysterious Star of Bethlehem, came to visit, and bowed down to acknowledge him as lord and king. Christ is revealed to all persons not just to the Jews.
- Second in his baptism by John. When the spirit of God descended on Jesus as a dove a voice from heaven proclaimed “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”. This is one of the few occasions in the scriptures in which all three persons of the Holy Trinity are manifest together.
- Third through his first public miracle – the wedding of Cana when Jesus turned water into wine. The transformative power manifested in Jesus extends to all creation.
Over the weekend we will take down our Christmas tree and lights. We will pack away our advent wreath for another year and replace the poinsettias on our mantle. I always struggle with this because it seems that suddenly we replace the promise and joy of Christmas with a drab and uninviting plainness.
But there is no plainness to the season of Epiphany. This is a season in which we are encouraged to come and see, come and follow, go and tell others. As followers of Christ we are invited to reveal him to others so that they too might recognize him as Son of God and experience the hope and freedom that his message brings. I think that this is also a season to broaden our vision to remind ourselves of the many ways in which Christ is at work in our world – we need to look and listen for God’s voice and come and see the things that God is doing not jsut in our own churches and communities but also amongst the poor, amongst the oppressed, amongst the marginalized and ignored.
God is actively at work in our world if we will take the time to come and see, come and follow and go and tell others.
This is when I start to think about the need to get going with the spring garden. Heaps of catalogues arrive in the mail and my fingers itch to get down into the dirt and make something happen. It had not occurred to me before but this garden activity seems like a very appropriate one for the season of Epiphany, that season when we are all encouraged to get out into the world and tell others about the Saviour whose birth we have just celebrated.
Making something happen to bring new life into our world is the spirit of Epiphany. We are called out into the world not just to talk about Christ but to reveal him to others through our deeds and actions. The garden is one place in which I both connect to God and work to help others connect to God as well, but it is not the only place. One of the challenges I have been thinking about over the Christmas season is How do I reveal Christ to others through my life? I want this season to be a true epiphany for myself and those around me. Perhaps you too would like to take time this weekend to think about this.
Here are some other suggestions to ponder:
There are many different ways that you could reveal the message of hope to others during this season. Consider doing one of the following during the weeks of Epiphany
- Do you have new neighbours? Are there newcomers to your church? Invite them over for an evening to get better acquainted
- Is this an opportunity to reach out to people in your office or workplace? Consider providing breakfast for those you work with. If you are feeling particularly adventurous you might like to make this a weekly or monthly event.
- Is there a university close by with international students? Invite a small group of students home for lunch or dinner. This is a great way to get know about another culture and the students will be very eager to learn more about your culture and religious traditions.
- Is there a senior care facility near where you live? Take your children over for a visit. Get them to read a story or sing a song for the residents. Consider taking some of the elderly people out for a trip.
- Is there a special way in which your children could reach out to others at their school or play group? Talk to them about the Biblical story and ask them to come up with one way that they could reveal the hope of God the their playmates.
What are your expectations for the season of Epiphany?