With the seasons of Advent and Christmas’ teachings anchored in our hearts the Church calendar journeys into what we call the Epiphanytide, but what does that mean?
Epiphany means to manifest or to reveal something that has been hidden. Therefore, the season of Epiphany is the time when we reflect on the manifestation of God in Jesus and of the risen Christ. It’s when we ponder the eternal significance of how Jesus’ earthly birth and work culminates in Him being our Savior; the One who destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel message.
During the last 2 weeks at church, we have touched on the Epiphany stories in the Bible that reveal Christ’s glory; like when the Magi come from afar to worship the baby born king of Israel. And Jesus’ baptism when the Holy Spirit lands on Him in the form of a dove and God’s voice proclaims, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased”.
These stories joined together with the stories from Advent and Christmas bring to life Jesus as the Christ. They also bear witness to the faithfulness of the Bible characters that lived these stories, Elizabeth and Zachariah, Mary and Joseph, John the Baptist, the Magi and of course Jesus. In each case we see these men and women give their lives humbly as “living sacrifices” for God’s use in His grand story of Salvation.
Why are these stories so important? What part do we share in this miraculous revelation?
Several realizations touch my heart! First these stories unveil Jesus to be God in the flesh and the King who came to save us all! Ultimately revealing Him as the God of gods and King of kings!! Our Lord and Savior! And this is Good News worth living for and sharing!
Have you ever struggled with the path God has ordained for you? How do you handle the struggles? Do you give up because it is too hard: feeling inadequate, thinking others are better equipped to do the work, or maybe preferring to do other things more enjoyable or immediately important? Well, join the club!
I encourage each of us to let go of the lies that cause us to quit, calling them what they are, lies, and let our motivation be taken from the devout faithfulness exhibited by the men and women in these beautiful Bible stories. Those who accepted the long, hard, humbling, agonizing and at times embarrassing work but still persevered. May we too persevere whether moving forward or backward in prayer following Jesus’s teachings and leadings wherever they take us. May we believe that our lives too are to be given daily as “living sacrifices holy and acceptable to God” because as the Bible teaches “this is our reasonable service and proper worship” as you discern God’s will for your life. (Rom 12:1)
In so doing, we are not only touched by God we also join Jesus Christ in the work He’s left for us to do whereby, we too are used by Him to reveal His glory and Saving Grace to those we encounter.
In the vein of Christopher Ash and our Advent Devotional:
“When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
Shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart.”
Howard Thurman -The Work of Christmas in The Mood of Christmas & Other Celebrations