This post was written at the beginning of 2016 but I felt it was worth sharing again for those who need the hope of light this new year.
There’s a bright light shining through our front window. The curtains fell down one evening in December while my husband and I were watching TV. We heard a crash and rushed to the kitchen to see what had fallen. We looked around, bewildered, not recognizing the source of the sound. Finally, I peered into the dining room and saw our front window curtains on top of my buffet, the one filled with my china. Thankfully, nothing was broken except the curtain rod which had finally given up after 9 years of hosting a few sets of curtains that changed with my decorating whims.
For the past few weeks we’ve been discussing the best way to rehang our curtains above the large window with a transom I’d like to reveal. A better rod? A different method? We can’t decide how to move forward and the longer we wait the more I’ve grown accustomed to the light, the brightness of space and the ability to see out into the world around me.
It’s amazing what a little light in your surroundings can do for your soul. This past year was a season of unfamiliar darkness with the cumulative effects of 8+ years of loss finally crashing down on me. Stepping into 2016 I feel a weight lifting, a hope of light and revelation. I don’t expect the effects of loss to disappear, but I do have hope to thrive within the sea of emotion I often experience after losing four babies, two long-time communities, my mother-in-law and my own mom. I see a light that will allow me to recognize beauty in the midst of pain. I’ve reconnected with the One who promises we’ll have trouble in this world but declares yet, He has overcome the world.
Today marks the official end to the Christmas season with the celebration of Epiphany. This 12th or final day of Christmas on the church calendar holds great meaning for Christ followers, marking the visit of the magi (Three Kings Day), the baptism of Jesus and the beginning of a journey of enlightenment.
The very word speaks to the light we hope to find in the new year. Epiphany celebrates God revealed in the humanity of Christ.
If Emmanuel is God with Us. . .Epiphany is our revelation of his presence in our midst. It requires our recognition, our response.
Our state of mind, our behavior, our lifestyle will never change the fact that Emmanuel is here with us but our ability to see and understand his presence will greatly affect our journey; the level of peace and joy with which we travel.
This is the revelation I carry with me into 2016. Emmanuel has come and is ever-present, yet my ability to walk in the light is dependent upon my reception of his presence in my life.
Epiphany allows us to see and choose to walk in the light.
This morning as I woke, I laid in my warm bed and turned these words around in my head. How will you have me share my journey of revelation on this sacred day of Epiphany? As I poured my first cup of coffee, I scrolled through Facebook and read these words from Chrystal Evans Hurst:
Photo via Chrystal Evans Hurst
Emmanuel, God with Us. Our commitment to a present God will eventually lead us to the light. Months ago I couldn’t see a clear path out of the darkness I was experiencing but I clung to Jesus, walking slowly, one step at a time. And just as he promises in his word, he revealed himself to me, once again, leading me with hope towards victory.
The season of Epiphany reminds us to look for the reality of his presence all around us. In times of darkness his constant companionship will not only be a source of comfort but a guide into the light. In seasons of joy his company is our great pleasure, a mere taste of glory revealed on earth.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11
On this day of Epiphany (and if we choose to observe the season over the next seven weeks leading up to Lent) my prayer is that his presence will be revealed to us in fresh, new ways.
May we feel his companionship in the midst of the mundane.
May we notice his great pleasure of the simple ways we serve each day.
May we accept his grace when we feel defeat.
May we wear his joy like a garment of victory over all that tries to steal it.
May we journey slowly through moments of darkness, with hope of the light.
Epiphany, the revelation of an ever-present, all-consuming, deeply-loving God. The only hope we need this year.
Has God been revealing himself to you in new ways this year? What new hope have you found in the reality of his presence?