January 3 – The Epiphany of the Lord
Today we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord! The tradition in some cultures is to exchange gifts with family and friends today. There perhaps is not a story from Sacred Scripture that does not evoke the Christian imagination more lively than this one. No Christmas crèche is complete without the figures of the three kings bringing three gifts to present to the baby Jesus. As important as these gifts may seem, what is more important is the gift that God gives to us through the Epiphany. The word Epiphany means “manifestation.” Today let us consider the gift of the Epiphany. The Jewish people had longed for a savior, one who would set them free from political oppression and reestablish the kingdom of Israel. But in the Epiphany, God reveals that through his son Jesus, God and his gift of salvation is not only for the chosen people of the original covenant with God, but that the God of Israel is God for ALL people and ALL nations. The gift of salvation is not limited – it is for everyone! With this revelation, perhaps it is a good idea to practice seeing beyond our stables to focus on the faces of those we would exclude from the gift of salvation. To love and accept those we think do not deserve God’s love, let alone ours. To rid ourselves of our racist attitudes lest we cooperate in Herod’s schemes just so that we might keep our comfortable-but confining stable walls around us. Let this gift change our hearts so that ALL people may see the salvation of our God!
In some cultures today is celebrated as “Little Christmas” with one last big family meal, one last present to the children, one last day to sing the carols and light the tree. So on this day of gifts, I join Fr. James in thanking all of you for your prayers, cards and joyful Christmas greetings. We also thank all who gifted us, and the staff with homemade or store bought goodies. We also are deeply grateful to all who gifted each of us personally. Your thoughtfulness and generosity is much appreciated!
In this one last week of celebrating the Christmas season – the Christmas season ends next Sunday with the Baptism of the Lord – may we all pray for God’s blessings on the new year 2021 and to bring the COVID pandemic to an end so that we can all be TOGETHER again when celebrating Christmas 2021!
Enjoy this final week of the Christmas Season!