Epiphany is a wonderful time in the church year. It naturally fits with our calendar announcing a new year, except the difference is in the church—we begin a New Life. It starts with the wisemen. They are the ones who embody wisdom. They said, “we have observed his star” (Matthew 2:2) and decide to follow it. Notice they didn’t see a star and then stay put and keep the status quo. They also didn’t look at the star and then look for something else, another sign, a different clue, a clearer message. No, they decided to move forward based on a star and a greater vision than what King Herod and his darkness offered.
A vision helps clarify what is important in life. It helps us rearrange our priorities. It provides us with not only a clearer eyesight but with the kind of vision Epiphany brings, we gain discernment, conviction, and a belief something greater is at work in our lives around the corner. In other words, a vision opens us to insight and propels us, as we move forward. We are inspired, or, literally in-spirit as we step into the unknown holding to our faith in God.
Epiphany breaks open a time of renewal. There are those who look at such time for resolutions as a way to bring about renewal. You know, resolutions are a matter of the will or will-power. Some people have a strong will. Most of us do not. So, renewal is only a matter of time before resolutions break and the desire to make a change is soon forgotten.
There are those looking for a new normal and are excited by the thought of saying “goodbye’ or in some cases “good riddance” to the old normal. The problem is few of us can define what is normal. It is difficult to base renewal on what is “normal” since each day brings the unfamiliar, the surprise, the shock, which changes where we were yesterday.
There are those who simply want to reinvent oneself. The idea of reinventing oneself has an appeal especially if you are tired, worn-out, or dissatisfied with your old self and crave a new beginning, and what better time than a new year. Not to let the air out of the balloon, but the reality is when we reinvent ourselves in the end, we are still left with our self.
The joy and wonder in the season of Epiphany is we are able to join the Wisemen in casting a vision for our life in Christ and take a step forward in this journey of renewal. These past several months, I reflected briefly on Celtic Spirituality and the impact it made on all of us who made our pilgrimage to Ireland. One of the key characteristics of Celtic Spirituality is the sense of being on pilgrimage and exploring the unknown. Like Abraham and Sarah, or Moses and the children of Israel they were led by a vision from God.
As we turn the pages in the calendar, we see the star of Epiphany appears less as an event in time and more as a timeless event. The star leads us to the promise of Epiphany with the call to more than a New Year but now, to a New Life, this day, this year, in this time.