Today is the Epiphany of the Lord and it got me thinking, what is the exact definition of Epiphany? Epiphany – “a moment of sudden and great revelation or understanding.” (Oxford Dictionary)
The Advent and Christmas stories that we have heard together have been full of Epiphanies, moments of sudden and great revelation including:
- The angel Gabriel appearing to Mary to announce that she would bear God’s son
- Joseph, visited by an angel in a dream, takes Mary into his home
- The angels and a multitude of the heavenly host appearing to the shepherds announcing good news of great joy
- The magi, upon seeing the star, recognize that a great King has been born and they travel far to pay him homage
- Mary and Joseph receiving the shepherds and the magi, maybe also understanding that this Son was to not just save Israel, but the entire world.
Angels delivering sudden and great revelation begin the process of our salvation story.
So here we are in early January, the Christmas cookies are eaten (I hope), the gifts are put away, and the decorations are being taken down. We prepared during Advent and we celebrated during Christmas… but did we have an epiphany? Have we had a moment of sudden and great revelation or understanding? Were we open to an epiphany from God or were we too busy?
Maybe we’ve been looking for angels filling our sky or a great shining star or an angel speaking to us, something we can latch onto that is plainly spelled out for us. We’d all love to see an angel, right? But maybe our epiphany is different, quieter or more subtle. However, when we come upon it, it is no less sudden and it no less revealing. In fact, maybe our epiphany needs to be sought in order to be found.
Make no mistake, God has big expectations and hopes for all of us! But we, unfortunately, remain too busy and distracted; we haven’t learned to listen well. God may have tried to get through that noise in our lives this very Christmas… or maybe he delivered that epiphany to each of us some time ago. Maybe he planted a seed of what he wants of us, but we didn’t really hear it, so we packed it away. It is there but buried under our layers of burden and noise.
We need to unpack that, we need to seek what His epiphany is for each of us. So, what is our epiphany and how do we find it?
God wants us to be unburdened, to stop carrying all that stress so that we can hear what He is asking of us. I think that is step one for us, hand over to Him our stress and burdens to clear our lives. That is what He wants us to do; we have heard that in scripture time and again. What a great deal! When we have done that, we are more open, more in listening mode, more able to seek Him. And seek we must to discover what He has placed in our hearts. Finding a quiet place to pray, listen and think like in adoration for instance opens doors for us.
Seek, ask, pray and contemplate to see where it takes us. It is down these thought alleys we explore with Him that we find our calling, what He wants of us, what He is asking us to do. And we are likely to find that the ask is a gift!
And when we find it, it is “a moment of sudden and great revelation or understanding.” Probably not delivered by angels in the sky, but a divine moment nonetheless made especially for us. You may be surprised because this idea, His ask, may turn out to be something we’ve known all along because he placed it in our hearts a long time ago and we finally have sought it out with open ears and a softened heart.
Our epiphany is waiting for us and it is a gift he has created just for us. It is not gold, frankincense and myrrh; it is of much greater value. This epiphany He gives us comes with less burden, and a softer heart, and the ask, what He wants us to do, is a gift.
Epiphany – “a moment of sudden and great revelation or understanding.”
The shepherd’s epiphany drove them to seek the coming of their savior.
The magi traveled a great distance because of their epiphany.
Ours is waiting for us too!