Reflecting on Epiphany

When they saw the star, they were overwhelmed with joy. Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
— Matthew 2:10-11

The week started rudely, opening my eyes to that hour I refused to wake for many weeks, and not yet ready to give up the late nights. I thrive with routine, and the routine had been remade into traveling, unhealthy yet delicious foods, and reckless sleeping habits. Entering into what should be my routine has been its own sort of exhausting. I am groggy and grasping, hoping to find sure footing on what has felt ever-changing.

The liturgical calendar, a new soap box I have found for myself that has simply been waiting for me to embrace, has me caught in another reminder of grace. From Christmas into Epiphany, a lurching forward from the season of Advent, spurs us into exhales that breed joy. This miraculous birth invites us in to see and behold God-with-us, following the star as a sign of glorious new hope. Without all the shrouded language, Epiphany is the celebration of God revealing Himself in Christ to the Gentiles, to us.

The story of the Magi is our story. God has used His supernatural means to draw us unto Himself. We are His enemies, opposed to Him and happy in our rebellion. We pursue other means for fulfillment; however, God continues to woo us. On one glorious day, when we were exhausted and wearied in our sin, God led us to gaze upon Jesus just as the Magi did. We see the glory of God manifested through Jesus Christ in the internal work of the Holy Spirit. We see our utter sinfulness and God’s abounding grace offered in the Messiah. We are filled with joy as this grace sinks into our hearts. We fall down on our knees and confess our need of this Messiah. We worship Him and offer up our lives as our greatest offering to Him. Then we continue on in our lives, carrying the truth about the Messiah.
— Travis Cunningham

I struggle with the notions behind the New Year’s Resolution as I struggle to fight against works-righteousness and works-worth mentality in my life, regularly entering in to a cycle of beating myself up for any sized mistake I make. These patterns of mine are aching to be undone as I wage war against grace that saves in exchange for a dependence on self I am determined to be bound to.

As I consider Epiphany, I consider the grace that finds us in our darkness, the grace that startles dry bones to lay our best and ourselves down, the grace that makes a new way. Epiphany calls to our attention the gift that it is to be grafted in, and to not forget that the gift is a person, is God. Not only do the gifts we lay down come from within, but they are extending outward; we get to join in as God has extended His own hand, His own self, to redeem us.

Call it a New Year’s Resolution, but I need the routine, the forced hand and pattern of remembrance as I am weary and wearied. Epiphany asks of us, “what truly is your commitment,” and the world is ironically asking the same as it begs for redemption in all of it’s festering wounds. Christ brings us in, not only as a guest, but welcomed and called beloved, daily bread that nourishes each limb readied now to serve and be changed.