When I was younger, my liturgical attention span was mostly limited to Christmas Day and for all the wrong reasons. “Sure, we’re celebrating the birth of Jesus, but let’s get on with opening my presents already!” As a preacher kid, my patience was further tested each year by all of the services that stood between me and gift unwrapping time. With my obsession of gifts in mind, the first time I heard about Epiphany was a terrifying experience. Terror gripped me when my father openly teased me and my siblings about postponing our gift exchange until Epiphany because “all the good sales come after Christmas!” As a result, in my youth, I saw Epiphany more as a day of potential dread than a day of blessing from the Lord. Little did I know that the season of Epiphany is when God reveals the greatest gift of all – Jesus Christ – for the Church. If Christmas represents the day that Christians “unwrap” the gift of the Incarnation, then Epiphany is the time that Christians discover what the gift actually entails.
Last Sunday, we celebrated Epiphany (meaning “manifestation” or “appearance”) by recounting the story of the three Magi in the Gospel of Matthew (Matt. 2:1-12). In this story, the Magi followed a star to Bethlehem in order to behold, worship and present gifts to Jesus, “the king of the Jews” (v2) The significance of this story is that it represents the first time that God revealed his salvation plan to the Gentiles! In other words, God’s rescue through Jesus is available to us all!
The Epiphanytide season extends until the beginning of Lent on February 26th. During this time, we have the opportunity to join Christians worldwide in meditating on select Gospel events that have been used throughout church history to reveal Jesus’ identity and mission. I invite you to prayerfully follow along over the coming weeks either by yourself or with friends and family.
Before you begin, pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate the text and impart a word in your heart. When you read, consider what the passage tells you about Jesus (the God-man) and how he still impacts your life and the world today. When you finish, pray. This time ask God to show you three people – friends, family, colleagues and strangers – to share Jesus with over the coming days.
|Date||Event in the Life of Jesus||Passage|
|Jan. 12 (Today)||Baptism of Jesus||Matthew 3:13-17|
|Feb. 2||Presentation of Jesus at the Temple||Luke 2:22-40|
|Feb. 23||Transfiguration of Jesus||Matthew 17:1-9|
May the light of our Lord Jesus Christ fill your hearts and minds. May you, like the Magi, behold and worship him. And may you eagerly point others with your words, deeds and thoughts to the King of kings and Lord of lords – now and forever (Revelation 19:16). Amen!