I’ve been thinking about epiphany. I know we just celebrated the Feast of the Epiphany, but honestly it hadn’t really occurred to me that Epiphany is more than a day. It’s a whole church season! Well, of course I knew it was a specific period of time in the liturgical year since the hangings and markers change from the white of Christmas to green. Here, in the middle of winter, we have a “green” period, a good reminder that spring always follows winter and that the earth comes alive again after the winter’s dormancy. Is that why the green of Epiphany so much less irritating than the green we see for such a long time after Pentecost?
But Epiphany as a liturgical season is a thing I’d never really considered, Abba. For me Epiphany was a season that kept Christmas and Lent from running into each other. Yes, I noticed that Epiphany had specific readings and hymns and all, but the significance of it never really rattled the bars of my mind or let the fridge light come on (probably because I never opened that particular refrigerator door!). I’ve been thinking, reading, studying, and contemplating, and I think I’ve finally begun to wrap my mind about what Epiphany really is.
For many people, Epiphany is a letdown time. All the hype and whoop-de-doo of Christmas and its preface are over. That can be a real bummer because Christmas is supposed to be such a joyful time. For many, it can be the saddest, loneliest, most trying time of year. They wander around, wondering why everybody seems so happy and felicitous and full of Christmas cheer. They may even try to put on a happy face too, because that seems to be what is expected. If you look behind the joviality, frivolity and bustle, though, you’d find they are almost all feeling empty; they’re just putting on a good front so they can appear “normal”. By the time Epiphany comes the grandkids have gone home, the house is quiet again, the decorations are back in their boxes, and now the bills start coming in. All reason to look cheerful and happy seems to be gone and the emptiness still remains.
Since the basic theme of Epiphany is your manifestation among us, maybe what we need is a new idea of what that means --- small insights and awarenesses every day to show us that Epiphany is more than a “little” season between two big ones. Maybe we need small epiphanies to make us think and let the light bulbs of our minds light up with a mental, “WOW! I never thought of it that way” kind of thing.
Abba, show me the epiphanies you want me to see. I know I can’t come up with them on my own. You have a way of showing me, though; you use things I read, things I see, and people with whom I talk. You always manage to whack me between the eyes when I really need to pay attention. So, let me pay attention much more closely this year to the messages and manifestations you have for me to see. I’m looking forward to this new journey.
I love you.