January 6 marks the end of the Christmas season in the church. It falls twelve days after Christmas Day and it is that spread of days from which arose the carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” The day is called Epiphany, a name that comes from a Greek work for “revelation” or “manifestation.” Traditionally it is the day we remember the visit of the magi after Jesus’ birth.
People still make this discovery today. Some will experience it in a special worship service or a Bible study discussion. Others will experience it in the selfless giving of others in their own time of need. Others will read of it and believe.
A few years ago a woman shared her “Epiphany moment” story. She was in town for a funeral and afterward we were visiting. She told me the previous year had been an especially difficult one for her. There was a major issue in the family involving children and grandchildren who lived in another state. It was a time of turmoil, concern, sadness and fear.
She prayed over the situation. Her church prayed over it. One day, after returning home from worship, she felt her heart move. She really couldn’t describe the feeling, but suddenly she “got it.” She had her “aha” moment that God was present for her and her family. Right then and there she stopped to tell God that she trusted that the right outcome would happen. She went on to say that it was the first time she really got it, God is with me, even though she had always believed in God.
This is what God is doing for us. God is always at work in our lives. God is always present with us. We just need to have our own “epiphany” so we understand it in our hearts. Then we move on to the work God has set us to do, allowing others to reach their own moment of understanding.
“The Work of Christmas Begins” is a poem composed by Howard Thurman, an African-American theologian, educator, and civil rights leader. I share it with you as a challenge to seek your own “epiphany moment” that you can take out into the world.
“When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.”