Tag Archives: Christmas

An Epiphany Journey

Just in case you aren’t liturgically inclined (because I know you use that word every day), yesterday was Epiphany Sunday.  And again, I know that’s another word that you use on a regular basis.

So what is an epiphany?

noun, plural epiphanies.
1. (initial capital letter) a Christian festival, observed on January 6,commemorating the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles in the persons of the Magi; Twelfth-day.
2. an appearance or manifestation, especially of a deity.
3. 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.
4. a literary work or section of a work presenting, usually symbolically,such a moment of revelation and insight.
Definition from dictionary.com

While its the religious definition that popped up first, most of us are more familiar with something like this picture.

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I grew up as a child of Saturday morning cartoons, and it took me a long time before I realized that you don’t get a light bulb when you have a new idea.

But seriously. An epiphany is a new way of understanding something, or as one of my church members put it, it’s an “aha!” moment.  It’s when you suddenly come to understand something that you didn’t before.

One of the important things to keep in mind is that epiphanies are very rarely spontaneous, but are the product of a longer journey.  They seem like they come all of a sudden, but they’ve actually been building over time, and the last piece has finally gotten itself into place.  That’s the “aha” moment because the whole thing finally makes sense.

That journey happens to the Wise Men.  There’s a reason why we tell their story on Epiphany Sunday.  Its because they’re on that journey and they get a new understanding of things.

Reread the story of the Wise Men in Matthew 2.  Remember that we’re never told how many wise men there are, and we’re never told their names.  Those things come from later traditions.  But that’s okay because those traditions help fill in the story and don’t take away from the central question about what they were hoping to gain from coming to see this little child…..or said better, what epiphany did they have when they came to him?

The Wise Men were the first non-Jewish people to begin to understand who this baby was.  In a world full of lots of Gods, they were the first that began to see what Israel’s One God was about.  From their journey they gained knowledge of who God really should be, and what he could do.

This is one of the same lessons that we can hope to gain.  What we need to to be reminded, or learn again, who our God is.  Ours is a God that goes with us on the journey, but also says that we can come back if we veer off.  This is a God that gets that we don’t always know what to do (or which direction to go), but says I’ll send you my Son so that you can see it for yourselves.

Ours is a God that says, “I know that you’ll always be on a journey. Let me help you make it a good one.”  For us, this is what we need to hear, because this is the kind of help and guidance that we need in our lives.

As you go through this week, look for a new understanding that you can have about God, and look to see where he is leading you on this journey.

Finding a Way

LogoStart by reading Isaiah 2:1-5 and Matthew 24:36-44

Now I want you to imagine a new world.  But this isn’t a world that we often imagine at Christmas. We can get caught up in the snow-covered, pristine back country woodlands and fields, and we begin to lose what that world really might be. For so long we’ve idealized the Norman Rockwell version of Christmas that it’s hard to see might also be possible.

This first Sunday of Advent we lit the candle of Hope. What I want us to find this season is real, genuine hope. Begin to get at this from the song below. It’s from a Christmas album by Jason Gray, and hear the message. Continue reading Finding a Way

Living Compassion

Start by reading Matthew 1:18-25

I’ve gotta admit, I have a lot of respect for Joseph.  He lived in a world very different from ours, with many different expectations.  If you want an idea of what that world looked like, check out this blog.  The world that Jesus was born into was a very different world than what we live in now, or what we often perceive the world to have been back then. Continue reading Living Compassion

Christmas Questions

This week, instead of doing a regular devotion for this week, I wanted to go over a few of the questions that I got asked last Sunday about Christmas that I couldn’t answer. I got stumped!!!!  Continue reading Christmas Questions

Great Expectations

Start by reading Luke 1:26-38 I don’t think there is another time of year where the expectations are as high as they are during the holiday season.  The work for this time of year starts even late in the summer, or early in the fall.  That sounds crazy doesn’t it, but how many of us have started make arrangements for Thanksgiving by the end of summer. Continue reading Great Expectations