Day 295 | Friday, 8 January 2021
With the arrival of the Epiphany season, we jump from Jesus in a manger to Jesus beginning his ministry. It seems like a big change, I know. The church year is designed to cover his ministry between Epiphany and Lent. Let me share with you some thoughts. Isaiah 60:1 “Arise! Shine! Your light has come; the Lord’s glory has shone upon you.”
Epiphany is the festival of the Incarnation: that is, of the coming of God to earth in human form in Jesus Christ. Perhaps we might say that Epiphany emphasizes the theology of Christ’s birth, while Christmas — as we now generally know it — emphasizes the mood of giving and perhaps also of sentiment. We might even say that Epiphany is the thinking side of the Christmas story, whereas Christmas as we now think of it is the feeling side of the story. But however, we say it, at Epiphany, the church celebrates the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and his manifestation to the whole world.
Epiphany is the day of divine Light
The coming of light through our Lord Jesus Christ, the One who is the Light of the world. Whatever we may have thought of on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day about the coming of our Lord, today we say it again in another way: The Light of heaven has broken into our world’s darkness.
There is no better word to speak this Epiphany season than this: that Christ has come into our world to drive out the darkness and to bless us with light. If you are a soul who sometimes is plunged into darkness, whether for moments or hours or days — or perhaps even interminable periods — I speak to you this good word: Christ has come to bring light. The darkness that afflicts us is not as strong as the light that is in Jesus Christ.
The light that we celebrate on this Epiphany season is a light that can never be put out. No matter how great our world’s darkness may sometimes appear to be, no matter how pervasive, how invasive, how insistent — that darkness can never put out the light that has come in Jesus Christ.
Jesus of Nazareth lived 33 short years — with only three of those years in the public eye — and then they crucified him. The people who hated him thought they were done with him. But you cannot put out the Light. On the third day he rose again, and within two months of his crucifixion, literally thousands were being converted to follow him.
When Jesus Christ came into the world, he came as Light. He is Light for all persons, all ages, all levels of culture and economy who will receive him. The light he brings is a light that every human being needs, regardless of his or her state in life or location in geography.
Jesus Christ is the Light that can never be put out. All sorts of people have tried for nearly 20 centuries to be rid of Jesus. Over the centuries, many have predicted that he would soon be forgotten. But you cannot put out the Light. This is the word to remember this Epiphany season, nearly two weeks after Christmas: You cannot put out the Light. Thanks be to God!
Isaiah 9:2 “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.”
“Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies” words: Charles Wesley, 1740
1. “Christ, whose glory fills the skies, Christ, the true, the only light, Sun of righteousness, arise, triumph o’er the shades of night; Dayspring from on high, be near; Daystar, in my heart appear.”
Gracious God, as we have been bathed in the light of Jesus, help us to let our light shine so that others might be bathed in Jesus’ light either through or despite us. Lord, hear our prayers. Amen.
Today: prayers for those in darkness who need a light.