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Celebrating Epiphany

The twelve days of Christmas is more than just the name of a song: it’s an actual season of the church. We prepare for Christmas through the season of Advent, then Christmas lasts twelve days, culminating on Epiphany, which is Saturday, January 6.

 

We will celebrate Epiphany in worship this Sunday, January 7.

 

Epiphany, means “appearing” or “revealing.” And it marks the occasion of the three wise ones, often called magi or wisemen, arriving in Bethlehem sometime after Jesus’ birth.


In many ways, Epiphany is about the magi looking for God. Leaving their homes, the wise ones set out to follow a star. Their looking eventually leads them to Jesus, the newborn king. And then, after arriving in Bethlehem their attentiveness to dreams, protects them from Herod’s deception and harm as they return home by another way.

 

We too are looking for God. We long for God to appear in something as obvious as a star, like God once did for the magi, yet we rarely see God in something that obvious.

 

But the promise of Epiphany is the promise that God always reveals God’s self. It was a baby born in manger, it was on a cross surrounded by criminals, it was an empty tomb and folded grave clothes.

 

Today, such revealing might be in the face of a friend, or even a stranger, perhaps in the beauty of a sunrise or sunset, or maybe even in a quiet morning with a cup of coffee.

 

But the promise is the same, God reveals God’s self because God is always with us.

 

As we celebrate Epiphany on Sunday, we will gather at the table for Communion, and we will select star words for the year. In some ways, a star word is just a word. But it is also an invitation to a different way of looking for God this year. These words, chosen at random, are meant to be an intention or guide for the new year.

 

But these words are also a gift, a reminder that God first looks for us. In receiving our star words, we trust that God has been at work in our lives long before this moment, and that God will continue to be at work in our lives long after this moment.

 

I think we all yearn for tangible, clear signs of God’s presence with us. We long for epiphanies that look more like an unmistakable star in the sky or dreams with clear instructions for how to return home. But sometimes God shows up in something far more simple, maybe even as simple as a word.

 

After receiving your word, I invite you to place it somewhere where you will see it often. And then, pay attention to how that word shows up in your life. If you need a place to start, consider simply looking up your word in a dictionary so that you might grasp more of its meaning.

 

If you will not be in worship on Sunday, but would like a star word, please reach out. I have extra star words and would love to share!

 

 

 

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