Such a funny word isn’t it…Epiphany. We hear this word and we celebrate it in early January…but what do we actually know about this season?
We may just know that it is that season that follows Christmas.
We may know that the priest wears green during this time.
We may even know that it celebrates the arrival of the Magi at the birth of Jesus.
But there has to be a lot more to it, right?
Well, the literary definition states that an epiphany is the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi.
But there still has to be a lot more that we can take away from it… that seems too…simple.
So a few weeks ago, I went to DuBose Conference Center to work at a High School retreat called Winterfest. This was my third year to have the privilege of serving on staff for this 5 day long retreat.
The theme for the week came from Psalm 139, Because I am marvelously made! Throughout the week we focused on the different ways that we see ourselves. We started by spending sometime on how we see ourselves.
When we look in the mirror, what are the things that we see in ourselves?
Are they all good?
Are they all bad?
Are you happy with yourself?
These are difficult questions for anyone to answer, cause it does not matter what age you are…most of us will not have only nice things to say when you are judging and critiquing yourself.
I imagine that it may look a little bit like this...
But just because we may see ourselves one way that does not mean that is how everyone else sees us!
In the Epiphany story, we have the Magi coming to see Jesus. They traveled from far away for a long time to come see Jesus. Know I don’t think they would make that journey for any ole baby…do you?
They recognized something in Jesus, even from so far away….they knew there was something special going on and they had to be there. So they went.
Jesus was two years old when the Magi arrived bearing their gifts…do you think Jesus fully knew and recognized who he really was? I don’t know, but at two year olds, I find it hard to imagine for anyone to fully understand and grasp that concept…I am still trying to figure it out!
But the Magi saw something in Jesus…something that maybe even Jesus did not know.
Whether in this situation or in the case of yourself or even Gretchen Wieners and her “weird” hairline…
YOU are the only one who focuses on these problems…
In Genesis, God creates us, man and woman, in the image of God… and afterwards saw all that God had made and said…”It is very good.”
The way we see ourselves is not the same as the way God sees us.
God sees past the surface, past our fears and doubts, past our insecurities…
God sees us!
All throughout the Bible we have story after story of God calling on his people to do something and time after time they say no! They say no because they don’t see what God sees in them!
Moses refuses five times saying that he is not the right person, Jonah runs away, Jeremiah says he is too young, Isaiah says he is too sinful, Gideon is just flat out angry with God, Samson loses his faith, Paul says I can’t, not after what I did to them, Mary says why me, I am just a girl, and even Jesus is afraid and asks if he really has to go through with it.
If you look in the mirror and don’t think that you are the right person…or the best person…or that you can’t do something…or are too young…or too lost…too sinful….too scared….you are in GOOD company!
Repeatedly, God replies the same way… “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” -Jeremiah 1:3.
So today, take some time and stand in front of a mirror. See all of those fears and insecurities…visualize all those things that are keeping you from being the best you that you can be…
What are all those things that are holding you back from being great!
Those things will be there and will hold you back…but only if you let them.
You are made in God’s image…therefore you are of God and therefore you are Godly…
This Epiphany, the season of light…remember that the light of the world is here with us today.
The light of the world is with you day in and day out.
When you stand there thinking of all those negative things…the light of the world is there.
“You are the light of the world.” – Matthew 5:14
Hopefully it doesn’t take some magi traveling from the east to help you realize that.