The 12th day of Christmas…didn’t you hear those 12 drummers do their thing?
The celebration of the visitation of the magi (aka The Three Wise Men…aka Gaspar, Balthasar, and Melchior…aka Dudes who throw a mean Baby Shower!)
The day that the realization hit that Jesus was the Son of God…and was sent not only to love and save the Jewish people, but that God so-loved the world that Jesus came to be a prophet, priest, and king for all.
Epiphany in the original greek (Epiphaneia) means manifestation or striking appearance. This can mean the literal physical manifestation of a divine being (as in a theophany…like God appearing to Moses or Joshua). And it has come to more mean when a person has a moment of sudden revelation or insight.
Upon learning of the significance of Epiphany a few years ago, I started leaving my Christmas decorations up until at LEAST January 6th (and usually until the weekend afterwards depending on what day the 6th lands on). Not only does this allow me to have the beauty of decorations and lights and candles and mistletoe into the first week of the new year (which is often filled to the brim with extra work and catching up and in need of some beauty), but it also gives me time to reflect on what it means to me to believe in a God who is willing to act in epiphanies. A God who likes surprises. A God who doesn’t act like we expect him to. A God that does not stay in the box that humanity tries to construct around him. A God who is willing to say “Bet you didn’t see that coming” with a shake of her head and a giggle.
Epiphany for me gives me a few more days to plan for my New Year. To set goals. To make resolutions. To think about my impact. What things I wish to MANIFEST this year? In what ways do I want what I’m doing to create a STRIKING APPEARANCE for those I can influence for good? What INSIGHTS and REVELATIONS do I want to be on the lookout for? And always the question I ask myself on this day is “Am I really open to whatever God wants to bring my way? Am I really willing to be surprised by Divine intervention? Can I throw my hands up to the heavens and surrender all that I have and am to the love of the Holy Spirit in my life?”
Those questions don’t have easy answers for a control freak like me. But…without a doubt…every year that I ask myself these questions my response has some element of “Please Lord…may I be open…may I be willing…may I surrender.”
I had an epiphany…and it’s the same sudden realization that I have every year…I am so very loved and accepted by a God who wants to shower me with love, mercy, grace, hope, and good good things.