You will hear enough about Christmas in the coming days, so I would like to look ahead to the Good News of Epiphany. Epiphany comes immediately after January 6th, the Epiphany. This is the season of light in Christ, and so Epiphany is a season filled with opulence, so we should probably be looking for a way to increase our outdoor lights and possible add another Christmas Tree. But the opulence of this season is betrayed by the post-Christmas practices of many in our culture today. Instead of the opulence by adding to the Christmas decorations, we will see many Christmas trees decorating snow drifts by the curb as people end Christmas and get on with the new year. The season of Epiphany begins with the revelation of Jesus Christ as He is named and circumcised in the Temple. Simeon says, "Lord now let Your servant depart in peace, according to Your Word, for my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared before the face of all people." (Luke 2:29) Epiphany refers to the revelation of the Messiah which had been promised to Simeon; God promised Simeon that he would see the Messiah before he died. What joy and peace to the aging Simeon that the wait was over the Messiah has come! Jesus Christ is God in human flesh, given for the world, to redeem the world from sin and death.
Epiphany draws our attention to the appearance of the Magi from the East to worship the infant Jesus. The following Sunday touches on the adult Jesus, beginning His earthly ministry in His Baptism. Subsequent Sundays in Epiphany trace Christ's revelation of the Father to us in His being, actions and words.
As we celebrate this season of Epiphany, we also celebrate what God is working in our midst as we continue to rejoice in the Real Presence of Christ with us. Jesus faced many trials in his earthly ministry and the world did also. The Slaughter of the Innocents, as Herod tried to kill the coming Messiah, reminds us of the brutal happenings in our world.
God proclaims that we are going to suffer hardships in our lives. But, God also promises that He is always with us and that every event in our lives will be turned into a blessing for those who trust in Jesus Christ.
Let our joy in 2012 not be wrapped up the trappings of this world, but in the One who is Revealed to us as the Christ. Our joy and peace is full when we continue to rejoice in Christ, our Lord and our Redeemer.
A Blessed Epiphany and beginning of the New Year 2012.