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