January 7, 2022
“Get out of bed, Jerusalem! Wake up. Put your face in the sunlight. God’s bright glory has risen for you. The whole earth is wrapped in darkness, all people sunk in deep darkness, but God rises on you, his sunrise glory breaks over you.” Isaiah 60:1-2 The Message
I am writing this on Epiphany, January 6, 2022. An epiphany is a light-bulb moment, an “aha” moment when something big or small occurs and you come to a new realization about yourself or the world. A quick example: I had no idea that my cell phone had a flashlight feature until I was in an evening meeting at Manoa Valley Church and the power went out. Someone pulled out their cell phone, pushed a button, and suddenly their phone became a flashlight that got us safely down the stairs and out of the building. I use that feature all the time now. An epiphany is seeing the light!
That is what happened when the magi (Zoroastrian priests or scholars from the east) followed a star that they believed to be a sign of the birth of a king. They were foreigners, far outside the Jewish faith and yet they followed the star and discovered Jesus, the baby who was also the new king. He wasn’t discovered in Herod’s court in Jerusalem, but in Bethlehem, born into a poor family in an agricultural town. The Bible tells us that when they saw Jesus, they fell on their knees to worship him. They saw the light, and their lives were forever changed.
Today, our nation marked the terrible events that happened one year ago when our nation’s capital building was breached and stormed, the first time in our history that has happened. It was one of many things that have happened in the past two years, a raging pandemic that is on the rise once again, the revelation of rampant racism, economic disparity, environmental catastrophes, a nation that could be called a house divided, and a world in a heap of trouble. January 6, 2021 was an epiphany of just how serious the situation is.
It was into an equally disastrous time that a little baby was born who is the light of the world and the darkness cannot overwhelm his light. In contrast to the events of January 6, 2021, Jesus came as a poor child who would become a refugee, a friend of sinners and tax collectors, one who courted not the powerful but the powerless, whose yoke isn’t the burden of oppression or shame, but one that is light and easy.
Today, I recall the amazing ways that the light of Jesus has shined in the dark this year. The grieving have found the one familiar with grief who shares the pain and lightens the load. The despairing have looked up and beheld the beauty of the sunrise. The exhausted have gotten a second wind when in the presence of innocent children. Those children have brought belly laughs and hope to adults on the edge of burnout. Friends and family have loved, unconditionally and displayed it in simple smiles and comfortable silences. My dog Kiko has faithfully stayed by my side, a reminder that God is always with me. These moments of light remind me of Epiphany, the light of the world that cannot be extinguished.
Wake up! The whole earth may be wrapped in darkness, but God’s sunrise glory breaks over you. ~ Anne