January 6: The day which marks the visit to baby Jesus by the Magi, Three Kings or Wise Men. (Whatever they are going by these days…)
During Medieval times, Christmas was celebrated for the 12 days from Christmas Eve on December 24 until the Epiphany, January 6. In many Protestant churches, the season of Epiphany extends from January 6 until Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent.
Did your calendar note this special day? Mine left it blank.
In fact, I’m really not sure I have ever celebrated, taken a closer look at or even really noticed this more quiet holiday following softly on the heels of Christmas and New Years. (Though I do have a remembrance of being an Air Force kid living in Germany and all the neighborhood children would leave their shoes out to be filled with gifts.)
The expression “epiphany” comes from the Greek word meaning, “to show, make known, or reveal.” That a-ha moment when you suddenly understand or become aware of a truth. Today we are invited to celebrate the “revealing” of God in human form through His Son Jesus Christ.
“And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him.” Matthew 2:9-11
Just think of those three wise men, traveling countless slow miles in order to bring gifts fit for a king, only to discover a small child with his teenage mother. The Word of God wrapped in flesh and looking very ordinary. Immanuel; God with us. Their epiphany moment marked a new beginning for the whole world, including you and me.
The revelation of a Savior who has come to rescue us. Forgive us. Love us. We too should be rejoicing with great joy in our hearts as we fall down to worship Him!
Epiphanies usually bring with them new beginnings, and it is fitting that this day falls in the first week of a new calendar year when many of us are looking back at the past year and regretting the progress we didn’t make or the crammed closets that still need to be gone through.
While growth, progress and accomplishments are admirable things to strive for, they need to stop defining us. The truth is, achieving “enough” is an elusive goal that we will never attain or be happy with. The arrival of Jesus offers us the hope of resting in an identity that has already been secured through His birth, death and resurrection.
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Webster defines an epiphany as “an intuitive grasp of something, usually simple and striking.” As I was reading my Bible this week, I found myself in Lamentations 3:22-24 which says:
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, therefore I will hope in Him.’ “
I thought about God’s mercies being new every morning. Not just at the start of a new year, and not just on days that I feel deserving or worthy of it. His lovingkindness and extravagant grace is available to me each and every single day, fresh like the morning dew or new pot of coffee brewing.
Yep, that was my “simple and striking” epiphany; equating God with the day’s’ first meal! I thought “What else is new every morning in my life?”, and I immediately came up with breakfast.
Sweet and simple breakfast. The meal no one seems to have time for, and that I rarely pause to give thanks for.
This year I didn’t make any fancy resolutions to get organized or accomplish anything that can be measured by a checklist. I just want to live freely as a new creation in Christ, supremely grateful for His mercies which are new every morning…just like breakfast.
Encounter Jesus. Breathe and start a new beginning with Him each day.