The Season of Epiphany/Matthew 2:1-2

The Season of Epiphany is the third season of the church year, and the best way to describe the season’s meaning is this: Epiphany means Making God Manifest. God is manifested in His son, the Christ Child, who is then revealed to the Magi (the Three Wise Men) and, as such, to the world.

What is an epiphany?  This term is widely used to describe a “light-bulb moment” or a sudden realization, as when something hits us in our realm of awareness that we may not have clearly seen or acknowledged previously.

When I think about the season of Epiphany as celebrated in the Episcopal Church, I think of a couple of things.  I think of the Magi, who, according to Scripture, actually visited with King Herod and discussed that they were looking for the child who was recently born king of the Jews.  They had seen the star which they knew signified the birth and identified the location of the child, for it had been written by the prophet. They wanted to worship the child.  King Herod tells them that he is unaware of such a child; BUT, when they find the child to let him know.  He, too, wants to pay homage to such a king. The good news is that after the Magi found and visited the child, they had an epiphany.  They were warned in a dream that it would not be wise to let King Herod know of the child’s whereabouts, so they went back home via another route.

The second thing that comes to mind is that the Magi’s acknowledgement of the Christ Child and their actual visit made this happening of the Child’s birth really real.  Here was royalty, The Three Kings, acknowledging the manifestation of God through Christ to the Gentiles. They brought gifts that they would normally share with their rich counterparts, and when they saw the Child of meager means, they did not run looking for a palace or riches and fine cloths, but they presented him with the expensive gifts, fell upon their knees, and worshipped him. Can’t you see them in the moment having yet another epiphany?

The Season of Epiphany is celebrated from January 6, which is the 12th day of Christmas, until Lent begins. During this time, we celebrate the revelation — the epiphany–, of God on this earth.   We acknowledge that the light of the world has come! As Episcopalians, we celebrate the Baptism of Christ during this season and reaffirm our Baptismal Covenant. We also celebrate other events in the life and ministry of Jesus, such as his first miracle of changing water into wine, and other firsts.  These events reveal Jesus as God’s son and help us further understand why it is important for him to be revealed to the world. Not to reduce the significance of the season at all; but, to put it in easily understood terms: this is the season of opportunity for additional “light bulb” moments while studying the life of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Enjoy the Season of Epiphany.

References:

Mathew 2:1-12, Holy Bible, The New King James Version, 1990 by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Inc., Nashville, TN

The Rite Light: Reflections on the Sunday Readings and Seasons of the Church Year, ©1998 by Michael W. Merriman. Church Publishing Incorporated, New York

What Joys Have You Brought into 2014?

Romans 5:1-11

Peace and Joy

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (NIV)

 

To the Believer, it is my hope that our joys from the past year (2013) were so complete that we have a “storehouse filled with joy to bring into this New Year of 2014, and will share our joys with others!

We enter this New Year with the peace of God. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 

Joy to the Believer is not dictated by what is happening in the world around us, or in our immediate circumstances.  It may even appear that we are not being realistic about our situations.  It may also appear to some that we are just “plain crazy”!  Because we are enabled by God, to continuously experience and display joy in the middle of calamity, that’s where “fear turns to faith”. “There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” I John 4:18.  When we give our life-issues over to God daily, it’s because we know his track record— that He has always been faithful to us.  “So do not fear, for I am with you.” Isaiah 41:10.  That’s how we are able to experience his joy, peace, love, and mercy.

Will this New Year, 2014, add to your joys? Look around you, through the eyes of faith each day! John 14:12 says this, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.  He will do even greater things than things than these, because I am going to the Father.  And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.  You may ask me anything in my name, and I will do it.”

Happy New Year!

Reverend Glenda Brunson

(Reprint from January 2012)