An epiphany is…”a realization; an opening; a portal to the Divine; growing up; a magic moment that impacts you and changes you forever and you can remember it as vividly as you experienced it; a moment that changes the lens through which you view your life; our soul scratching around our head and giving us a signal to guide our lives with; a moment of descending light, open knowledge, and choice; a drastic shift in energy and change of perspective that happens in the form of a moment of clarity; something that gives you the strength to take a different direction or move forward and opens up everything; a sense of wonderment; a clarifying direction; and, that moment where you know your life is never going to be the same.” (Ballard, Elise. 2011, January 25. How Do You, We, I Define Epiphany, Exactly? PsychologyToday.com). These were the definitions of epiphany given to psychologist Elise Ballard by people that she interviewed on the subject. I appreciate all these answers but I especially like the last one: that moment where you know your life is never going to be the same. I think that gets at the heart of what Epiphany truly is. Epiphany was the moment when those who witnessed Jesus’ birth realized their lives would never again be the same. Epiphany is the moment in which we realize that because of Jesus our lives will never be the same again. Epiphany is the day in the church year that we celebrate the wise men traveling from the east to honor the newborn king. Imagine how their lives were forever changed as they traveled a great distance to honor a small baby, the savior of the world. Did they come with great expectations? Did they leave in awe of the humble origins of this newborn king? Did they have an inkling of what Jesus meant for them and the world? Imagine how the lives of the shepherds were forever changed when angels came to them in the fields heralding good news of a savior born into the world. Did they doubt what they had seen and heard? Did they rush to see the newborn king, leaving behind their flocks? Did they stand in wonder of the promised messiah? Did they leave pondering the revelation that God had not forgotten them? Epiphany means manifestation and on Epiphany we celebrate the physical manifestation of Jesus to the gentiles. It is a celebration of God coming into the world to be with us in tangible ways. It is the end of Christmas and the beginning of our realization that our lives will never be the same again because of a baby born into the world. The season of Epiphany begins with Epiphany Sunday on January 6th as we remember the journey the wise men made to see the newborn king. The season of Epiphany ends on Ash Wednesday, March 6th. Throughout the season of Epiphany we wonder at the multitude of ways Jesus is made manifest in our lives and the truth that because of Jesus our lives will never be the same again.
Pastor Jennifer Beil