Allowing the season to linger until Jan. 6th is fortunate for me this year. I still have two very important events connected to the Holiday Season to experience. Both of them are tomorrow Friday January 3rd. The first is our Staff Christmas get together. This is a low-key affair where we close the office for a couple of hours and go out to a nice lunch at Biaggi’s. We get reservations, have a nice space, eat some pasta and generally have a good time together.
The second is Katie’s clan descending upon our home for the Schneider Christmas gathering. We just could not get everyone together before then. This is not a low-key affair. Almost 40 people and the possibility of two or three different dogs come to Eden Prairie. I really enjoy everyone in this clan, even the dogs, and yet there is just something about that many people coming to your house that, shall I say, “Keeps the Holiday Spirit Alive.” I’m going to eat a light lunch because well…“We have to get the house ready.”
In our Worship we always linger in what our culture calls the Holiday season until January 6th. January 6th is “The Feast of the Epiphany.” This is the day our tradition celebrates the visit of the Wisemen. Although we read their story on Christmas Eve we also recognize that something important needs to be said about what it means for these three to arrive a little later around the manger and recognize the Christ Child. The truth is not everyone sees what is special about the savior of the world right away.
Like a lot of other words in Church Epiphany is one of those we don’t often use in our everyday language. For many people this is a stumbling block. Words like Epiphany and Incarnation sound like code language that you have to be “In On” in order to understand. And to some extent these complaints are justified; I mean the dictionary that comes with the Word program I am using says, “no results found,” when you try to look up “Epiphany.”
And yet Epiphany is an important word for our faith. It means a “seeing something for what it really is,” “seeing something at a deeper level.” Or “ a manifestation of the divine.” It’s often used like, “I had this Epiphany when I went out to get the paper this morning.” The questions then become: What was that Epiphany? And so what?
If the Epiphany you have when you pick up the paper off of your ice rutted driveway is, “I should have put a coat on because its minus whatever degrees out here,” then perhaps there isn’t’ much to do but to get back inside as fast as you can. However, if the Epiphany is more like finding yourself frozen in the moment thinking, “I feel so alive when I breathe in this frigid crystal clear air and look up and see a sky so blue that I can’t take my eyes off of it.” Well then perhaps you have a little something more to start your day on.
The same is true when it comes to the Savior of the World. Epiphany takes one last look at the Nativity Story and invites us to recognize what about it, what is in it that will endure, that will withstand the challenges and experiences of this new year that all to quickly is already upon us.
Keep the Faith!