Sunday, January 9, 2011

Happy Epiphany Sunday

Today we celebrate Epiphany. For some the word conjures confusion. What is the point of it? The moment the light bulb of understanding hits, one has an epiphany.

For Christians around the world, Epiphany celebrates the recognition of the Christ child by Simeon and Anna in the temple and the visit of the Magi.

Simeon receives Jesus in the Temple

The revelation that Jesus, even though a baby, was the son of God and the king, by people of great importance--spiritual leaders, the wise scientists of the east and feared by Herod. He knew Jesus posed no simple threat. His scholars and wise men confirmed the visit of the Magi and he slaughtered all children under two years of age out of the real fear.

The irony of Christ's humble beginnings stirring such awareness in his parents, the temple leaders, the scientists of the age and the government, cannot be lost. When was the last time a child of no apparent importance drew the attention of the religious leaders, the scientific community on the cutting edge and the highest echelons of government? All recognized in the "infant" something so powerful that the prophet Simeon spoke the immortal words from Luke 2: (King James is used for copyright reasons. Check here for easier translation.)

29Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
30For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
31Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
32A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Simeon had an epiphany.

Anna, a widow, who served and worshiped in the temple, also had an epiphany.

Luke 2: 38And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

The Magi had an epiphany. They packed up and traveled hundreds of miles by caravan through ancient paths that didn't have a convenience store or hotel in sight. Yet, they persisted, having recognized the scientific findings were valid. Science and faith at work.

Herod had an epiphany. He called for his minions, his wise men, his scholars, his cabinet--as it were--to identify who this child was. The results of their findings sent him into a panic. Governments were not of the people, by the people, and for the people. He knew this infant child put his government at risk. He did a terrible thing and slaughtered the infants.

flight to egypt

Violence reigns in hearts that fear.

Peace comes from Christ, who casts out fear.

Love comes from God who accepts us as we are, warts and all, filled with grace to cover our inadequacies.

Blessed be this New Year.

Thanks for photos: to wiki creative commons, LawrenceOP, Mararie at Great work.

No comments: