For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people... the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ." Titus 2:11, 13
This past Sunday, we started the very long, drawn out process of taking our Christmas lights and decorations down. It's a sad task, and one that I have never completed at one sitting.
While we're not the last to do this in our neighborhood, we are among the last to be sure. It's our custom ]to wait until Epiphany to say farewell to Christmas, which officially ends (according to the historic Church calendar) on January 6.
Epiphany is a season in the life of the Church that lasts until Lent, and which celebrates the revelation of the Messiah to a world in desperate need of rescue. Although we may be sad to say farewell to Christmas, Epiphany gives us an opportunity to experience new joy and surprises.
The lectionary readings from Scripture during Epiphany take us from the arrival of the Magi (wise men), who visit Jesus and bring him gifts, all the way to his adulthood and ministry--including the miracles, signs and wonders that revealed his true purpose.
Perhaps the most well known of the many definitions of the word "epiphany" goes something like this: a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.
In other words, it's a moment of acute awareness, a shock of understanding that hits you out of the blue when you realize there is a deeper meaning to something you thought was ordinary.
Additionally, throughout this season we get the opportunity to reflect on the ways in which Jesus continues to show up in the ordinary moments of our lives--the ways in which Jesus is revealed all around us if we have eyes to see Him.
I want to encourage you throughout this season of Epiphany to open yourself up to the surprise of Christ in the world around you. Be more aware of how Jesus shows up in the ordinary moments. Pray that you will have the chance to not only be startled by Jesus' arrival, but to be startled into holy and life-giving action.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.