My Epiphany is Common
In the Church Year, January 6 is celebrated as the Feast of the Epiphany, which commemorates the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus. But, you knew that! Remember the video with me and Amy?
EPIPHANY 1: SEEING JESUS IN COMMON PLACES
I can’t remember when I first learned about Epiphany, but living in New Orleans had something to do with it—January 6 is the beginning of King Cake Season—whoop! Finding the baby in the cake represents the baby Jesus being discovered by the Magi. But like most things in New Orleans, this tradition is more about fun and good food than anything else.
In Epiphany, we celebrate seeing Jesus in the common places of our everyday lives. When the Magi looked for King Jesus, they didn’t find Him in a remote, majestic palace, but in a humble and common place, yet they knew immediately that He was not common:
Going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him (Matt 2:11, ESV).
My Epiphany is Uncommon
EPIPHANY 2: SEEING JESUS IN NEW PLACES, NEW WAYS
Studying the Church calendar this year has been really enlightening. You might say that this year, I have had another sort of epiphany…
An epiphany (from the ancient Greek word, epiphaneia, “manifestation, striking appearance”) is an experience of sudden and striking realization. Generally the term is used to describe scientific breakthrough, religious or philosophical discoveries, but it can apply in any situation in which an enlightening realization allows a problem or situation to be understood from a new and deeper perspective.
My epiphany is this — Order Brings Freedom. Following the church calendar requires order and structure, yet I am experiencing more freedom, not less, as I participate in this age-old and global tradition.
Freedom to observe the church calendar: We are not required to, but we freely choose to observe the church year, marking time by the events in the life of Jesus. [tweetthis]We freely choose to observe the church year, marking time by the events in the life of Jesus #BGBG2[/tweetthis] Love that.
Freedom in the way we observe the church calendar: You might remember from our amazing videos, that Amy and I have been learning about the Church Year from not one but two books:
- The Circle of Seasons: Meeting God in the Church Year, by Kimberlee Conway Breton, teaches that Epiphany is a day, followed by a season of “Ordinary Time,” lasting until Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. This is what I have always heard.
- Living the Christian Year: Time to Inhabit the Story of God, by Bobby Gross, teaches that Epiphany is a season that begins with a Feast Day (January 6) and continues till Ash Wednesday.
Are you wondering, why the difference? The variation between these two books exists because different church traditions exist, among various denominations. But rather than representing conflicting viewpoints, these differences reflect freedom!
As for me, if I get to choose, I choose a Season of Epiphany.
I want a season, not a day, of seeing Christ in new ways.
In fact, I want a lifetime of Epiphany, if I get to choose.
In Epiphany, we celebrate seeing Jesus in new ways and in new places. In my Epiphany, I want to experience “sudden and striking realizations,” don’t you? I want new mercies every morning, a new heart and a new mind, new ways living and relating to the people in my life, and eventually a New Heaven and a New Earth.
My Epiphany goes on longer than a day. In fact, I think that a Season of Epiphany—an extended time of looking for Jesus in the common places in my life—is the perfect way to start a new year. What about you?
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