Epiphany is the season of celebrating the light of Christ in the world. It is a Greek word meaning “manifestation”, “display”, or “showing”. The season is made up of the several weeks between Christmas and Lent. It begins on January 6 with the celebration of the coming of the wise men who had followed the star to the manger in Bethlehem. We celebrate this day with an Epiphany Breakfast and Service in Schultz Hall at 9:30 a.m. Epiphany will be on a Saturday in 2018 so, hopefully, even more folks than usual can make it to the Breakfast and Service.
On the Day of Epiphany we hear the account of the coming of the wise men. This account has an almost story book quality that has captured the imagination of generations. There are songs and stories that romanticize the journey of these men. We mustn’t, however, let any of this obscure the fact that there is much darkness in the account. In the background, behind the wondrous star and Babe of Bethlehem lie evil, terror, hatred and the forces of darkness at their worst.
That darkness gathered around the figure of King Herod. Herod was terrified when he heard the wise men ask, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews.” Herod was king of the Jews! He perceived Jesus as a horrible threat to him. This is the same darkness that can make someone in the family hate a new addition. I remember when I was twelve, the youngest child, my two nephews came to live with our family for two years. I was livid. I was so hateful. I still don’t like to believe some of the mean things I did to them. I perceived them as a horrible threat to my being the center of attention in the family. I wanted to be rid of them. Herod wanted to be rid of Jesus. So he said to the wise men with surgery hypocrisy, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!” When the wise men didn’t report back to him, Herod sent soldiers to kill all the baby boys in Bethlehem under two years old to be assured he was rid of Jesus.
This episode is just one of many times the darkness railed against Jesus, the light of the world. Throughout His life, Jesus encountered the dark side of humanity and the world. He always continued to shine and was never overcome by it. He continues to shine in the midst of the darkness today and will overcome it!
As Christians, we continually struggle with the darkness of our sin and the dark consequences of the sins of others. But we know that Jesus is with us. In His light we have power to stand strong and not be overcome. There are times, to be sure, when the light of Christ seems dim, times when the darkness seems to be overwhelming us. But through it all, Jesus is there, shining His light on the situation. God’s truth and love will prevail. Continue to celebrate and live in the light of Christ long after the Christmas lights are taken down and the nativity scenes put away. Then Epiphany and every season will be filled with the light of Christ for you—the light no darkness can overcome.
Spreading, Serving and Sharing with You,