Friday, January 6, 2012
A Blessed Epiphany!
As I drive by the growing pile of Christmas trees dropped off at the local state recreational area, it is clear that Christmas has come and gone. It started already on Christmas Day when the first tree hit the asphalt spot -- destined to become mulch on the trails at Dunbar Cave. We are so done with it all that are ready to give it all up -- the hymns and carols and sentiment of Christmas as well as the trees and decorations. We have already used and broken some of our gifts, cashed in some of the gift cards, and returned the unpleasant things we were surely given by mistake. We don't want twelve days of Christmas and an big bang from Epiphany. Even as Christians we are ready to get on with it. One year a preschool mom asked me why we had forgotten to take down the Christmas wreathes on our door -- it was January 2 and time to move on. So it is not hard to figure out why Epiphany has gotten lost in all of this.
Epiphany was once bigger than Christmas and still is in Orthodoxy. It is not just about the Wise Men/three kings from Orient are. It is not just about gifts to the Christ child. It is not just about Gentiles welcomed to the Infant King of the Jews. It is not just about Light -- in the midst of darkness, that shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. It is not just about the end of the twelve days of Christmas. It is and much more. It is about revelation, the step by step revelation of Jesus as the Son of God in human flesh and blood -- from the visit of the Magi to the baptism in the Jordan to the miracles large and small, to the disciples called, to the preaching that the Kingdom of God is come in Christ, and MORE!
The prolific commentator and commenter Past Elder (aka Terry Maher) wrote exhaustively on Epiphany. You can read it all here and I will not bother to rewrite what he put up last year. Suffice it to say that it is a shame we have let the wind blow out our candle and leave us in darkness in this day of light. We can do better. We have tried both moving it to a Sunday and a mid-week observance when it falls (at different times and at the same time) and we will labor on valiantly trying to recapture what has been lost. It is an uphill battle and I pray you better success than I have had.