Christmas is over. The Christmas tree and lights are down. The Advent wreath and decorations are packed away. My Advent/Christmas garden with all its light has disappeared and I am still working on how to put together a new garden for this season. I always struggle with this. I am not sure what will emerge and at this point, I seem to have replaced the promise and joy of Christmas with a drab and uninviting plainness.
There is no plainness to the season of Epiphany however. This is a season about mission. 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.
Broaden your vision during Epiphany
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 just in our own churches and communities but also amongst the poor, amongst the oppressed, amongst the marginalized and ignored.
The season of Epiphany is when we celebrate the revelation of Christ’s divinity and the ways that he both was and is 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.
See Where God is at Work
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. This garden activity is a very appropriate one for the season of Epiphany. It reminds me that for my endeavours to produce fruit that others can enjoy, there is a lot of ground breaking work that needs to be done first.
Make Something Happen to Bring New Life
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, 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.
- Is there a special celebration you could plan? If you live in the Northern hemisphere start planning your spring garden with friends or kids. If you are in the Southern hemisphere start planning a harvest celebration.
What are your expectations for the season of Epiphany?