Ever use the expression “I had an epiphany!”? In theological terms, an epiphany is a manifestation of God. In simpler terms it is a revealing of God in our daily lives, an experience of the holy in the ordinary. As Christians, we celebrate an entire holy season after Christmas called epiphany, and it is a season of seeing God in Jesus Christ. In this month of February, we are all having an epiphany!
Epiphany begins with the three wise men visiting Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Often, this event is seen as a part of the Christmas story because we celebrate the day of Epiphany the day after the twelfth day of Christmas, the conclusion of the holy season of Christmas. The day of Epiphany is not a part of the Christmas season, and Bible scholars will differ, but the Epiphany event in the gospel of Matthew may have happened up to two years after the birth of Jesus. The Holy Day of Epiphany falls on January 6th, and it begins the Holy Season after Epiphany which is a period in the church calendar that leads up through the Sunday of the Transfiguration of Our Lord and finally ends
on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.
In addition to the gospel story of the wise men visiting Jesus, during the season of Epiphany we have stories of Jesus’ baptism, the wedding at Cana, Jesus announcing the fulfillment of scriptures, the rejection of Jesus in Nazareth, Jesus calls the disciples, Luke’s version of the beatitudes, Jesus’ call to love our enemies, and the Transfiguration. Throughout the scriptures we are called to look for Jesus, to see God in Jesus, and to see Jesus in our lives. By doing so, we do epiphany. We see Jesus. In seeing Jesus, we stand to see how we too are children of God, claimed, loved, and called to follow Jesus’ ways as his disciples today in the world.
Years ago, I remember a very wise colleague preaching during the season of Epiphany. We were encouraged to not only see Jesus in our lives, but to reflect Jesus with our lives that others might see him too. That thought gave me an epiphany, and I cannot think of a better way to experience Epiphany than to share it with others.
This Epiphany we shared Jesus in a very special way through a week of serving our homeless brothers and sisters by taking our turn in the hypothermia prevention program coordinated by Facets. The snow and cold weather of the week highlighted the need for such a ministry. I was inspired by how many people turned out to help in so many ways, every day and every night of the week. Our volunteer leadership organized everything so well. I believe we also were blessed by the presence of our guests and the faith-filled experiences with them throughout the week in so many ways.
As Epiphany continues to unfold, I invite you to see and reflect Jesus. I invite you to do so by joining us in serving God’s children in need in so many ways through outreach. I invite you into Epiphany by sharing your faith inviting friends, families, co-workers, and neighbors to see Jesus is our many congregational ministries. I invite you to experience and share Jesus in worship in the Holy Word and Sacraments. The Epiphany experience is one that stands to change lives. Just as Jesus changed water into wine so that the wedding party could go on, sharing Epiphany can change our lives in God’s grace party of forgiveness and new life. Epiphany is just so full of possibilities and promise.
May God bless you this Epiphany season of the church — in seeing Jesus in your life and reflecting him with your life!