Even to the Weirdos

Epiphany

In many ways, I’m just a common ordinary Tim.  The only thing uncommon about me is my own crazy weirdness.  Which is why I am always amazed (even after 32 years of marriage) that I have such an uncommonly wonderful wife.  It makes me feel rather privileged!  Once she made an appearance in my life, I’ve never been quite the same.

And, yet, as privileged and as special as I feel being with my wife, there is an even greater light which causes me to say “eureka!” and “hallelujah!”

No matter who you are, your station in life, your background, your intellect or lack thereof, your creed, your ethnicity, your gender, your race, or anything else – the good news has come to you.

Each year on January 6, after the 12 days of Christmas, is the celebration in Christianity known as Epiphany.  Christ’s coming to this earth as a child and becoming like us is much more than a baby in a manger.  The day and the season known in the Christian Year as Epiphany lets you in on an incredible vision and greater understanding of God’s glory – to all kinds of people of the world.

Epiphany means “manifestation” or “appearance.”  The event most closely associated with this Christian season is the visit of the Magi, or the wise men, to Jesus.  Included in this time of the year between the seasons of Christmas and Lent is a special emphasis on the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus.  The great celebration and focus of these weeks is that:

Deliverance from the power of sin, spiritual healing, and the freedom to live a new life is not limited to Israel and the Jews, but extends, as well, to the Gentiles – to you, my friend, to all of us common ordinary non-descript, even weird people.

Every season in the Christian Year has its unique perspective on grace.  With Epiphany, you see that one of the most scandalous truths of Christianity is that God graces common ordinary people who seem far from God with the gift of Jesus.  God grants repentance that leads to life for all kinds of people no matter what their race, ethnicity, class, or background.  It is a wondrous and astounding spiritual truth that God’s gracious concern is not limited to a certain type of person or an elite group of persons, or even nice people who aren’t weird at all.

Epiphany teaches us that grace is and ought to be the guiding factor in how you and I interact with people.

Losing sight of grace leads to being critical and defensive.  Like King Herod of old, a graceless person becomes enamored with earthly power and control.  But embracing grace leads to the humility to see the image of God in people very different from ourselves.

Like the Apostle Peter, who learned in a vision to bring the gospel to non-Jews, old legalisms begin to be worn away so that people from all walks of life can have access to Jesus and his gracious saving and healing ministry.  Grace brings down barriers and causes us to do away with unnecessary distinctions between others.  Our appropriate response to such a grace is to glorify God for his marvelous and amazing work.

It is a gracious and merciful reality that the Magi, or Wise Men, who were pagan astrologers, were directed to the Messiah.  A light was provided to lead them to Jesus.  Apart from God’s care and intervention they would have remained in darkness.  And it is no less true for people today.  This old broken world is wrapped in darkness.  All kinds of people have no light at the end of the tunnel of their lives for hope and new life.  But the gospel of Jesus Christ brings that light to those walking around with no ability to see.  Jesus, in his teaching ministry in the Sermon on the Mount, exhorted his followers not to hide their light but to let it shine for all to see.

Sometimes, maybe oftentimes, the best way to bring resolution to your own troubles and problems is through helping others make sense of their lives through the gracious light of Christ so that they can see an appearance, an epiphany, of what their lives can be in the gracious rule of the kingdom of God.

Celebrate, my friend, the day and the season of Epiphany.  Journey with Jesus through his earthly upbringing and into his gracious ministry to people.  Keep vigilant to not let your light grow dim.  Instead, hunger and thirst after Christ’s righteousness so that your joy becomes full and your light is bright.

For a star in the east is shining, and even us weirdos can see it.

Matthew 2:1-12

            This date, January 6, of every year is a very significant day in the Christian Year – it is the day in which we as Christians intentionally recognize and celebrate the glorious truth that God’s Son was not only given to the Jews, but to Gentiles, as well.  This day is known as “Epiphany.”  Epiphany simply means “appearance” or “manifestation.”  Epiphany is the realization that the incarnation of Jesus involves a great deal more than Christmas; it brings a vision, a revelation, and an epiphany of God’s glory to every nation, people-group, and person on the face of the earth.
 
            The event that most represents and symbolizes Epiphany is the visit of the Magi to Jesus.  God, in his grace and mercy, made known to a group of Gentile astrologers that something of great importance was taking place.  A sign and light was given to them, leading them to Christ, the King.  Indeed, it is only through God’s gracious revelation of light to us that we are led to Jesus and receive the salvation that brings life, peace, and hope.
 
            Sometimes we forget and lose sight of what is really important in life.  We move at such breakneck pace and bind ourselves with such busy-ness that to stop and connect with life itself is not even a thought in our heads.  Yet, it is imperative that we look up into the sky and see a bright star in the east leading us, even beckoning us, to the Christ for whom all the universe hinges.  What do we really and truly need in life?  We need a Savior.  He has come.  He has been revealed.  Thanks be to God.
 

 

            God of light, you shine brightly and call us to your Son, King Jesus.  Today I celebrate your grace and goodness displayed in leading me to Yourself.  Thank you for salvation and life in Christ.  Continue to open my eyes so that I might see your love and truth.  Amen.

Epiphany

 
            Each year on January 6 in the Church Calendar, after the twelve days of Christmas, is the celebration of Epiphany.  Christ’s coming to this earth as a child and becoming like us is much more than a baby in a manger.  Epiphany helps to bring a vision and understanding of God’s glory to all kinds of people of the world.
 
            Epiphany means “manifestation” or “appearance.”  The event most closely associated with this season is the visit of the Magi to Jesus.  Included in this time of the year between the seasons of Christmas and Lent is a special emphasis on the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus.  The great celebration and focus of these weeks is that salvation is not limited to Israel but extends to the Gentiles, as well.
 
            Every season in the Christian Year has its particular angle of grace.  With Epiphany we see that one of the most scandalous truths of Christianity is that God graces common ordinary people who seem far from God with the gift of Jesus.  God grants repentance that leads to life for all kinds of people no matter what their race, ethnicity, class, or background.  It is a wondrous and astounding spiritual truth that God’s gracious concern is not limited to a certain type of person or a particular group of persons.
 
            Grace is and ought to be the guiding factor in how we interact with people.  Losing sight of grace leads to being critical and defensive.  Like King Herod of old, a graceless person becomes enamored with earthly power and control.  But embracing grace leads to the humility to see the image of God in people very different from ourselves.  Like the Apostle Peter, who learned in a vision to bring the gospel to non-Jews, old legalisms begin to be worn away so that people from all walks of life can have access to Jesus and his gracious saving and healing ministry.  Grace brings down barriers and causes us to do away with unnecessary distinctions between others.  Our appropriate response to such a grace is to glorify God for his marvelous and amazing work.
 
            It is a gracious and merciful reality that the Magi, or Wise Men, who were really pagan astrologers, were directed to the Messiah.  A light was provided to lead them to Jesus.  Apart from God’s care and intervention they would have remained in darkness.  And it is no less true for people today.  This old broken world is wrapped in darkness.  All kinds of people have no light at the end of the tunnel of their lives for hope and new life.  But the gospel of Jesus Christ brings that light to those walking around with no ability to see.  Jesus, in his teaching ministry in the Sermon on the Mount, exhorted his followers not to hide their light but to let it shine for all to see.
 
            Sometimes, maybe oftentimes, the best way to bring resolution to our own troubles and problems is through helping others make sense of their lives through the gracious light of Christ so that they can see an appearance, an epiphany, of what their lives can be in the gracious rule of the kingdom of God. 
 

 

            As we celebrate Epiphany and journey with Jesus through his earthly upbringing and into his gracious ministry to people, let us keep vigilance to not let our light grow dim.  Instead, let us hunger and thirst after Christ’s righteousness so that our joy is full and our light is bright.