Devotion and Prayer for Week of January 5, 2014

Meditation for the week January 5, 2014

“This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.” (John 2:10)

 

Folks in the church tend to complain that our holidays have become too secularized.  We complain that Christmas is all about Santa Claus, Rudolf and Frosty, and not about Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus.  We complain that Easter is all about bunnies and eggs instead of crosses and empty tombs.  But between Christmas and Easter we have a holiday and a season all to ourselves.

The season of Epiphany begins on January 6, the Tuesday of this week, and continues until Lent begins.  The secular world knows nothing of Epiphany.  You probably won’t hear any of your non-Christian friends talking about how they will be celebrating Epiphany this year.

So what is Epiphany all about?  What are we celebrating?   The word “Epiphany” means “revelation.”

Epiphany begins with the visit of the Magi, celebrated on January 6.  Contrary to what you may see in Christmas cards and in nativity scenes, the Magi didn’t show up on Christmas Eve.  They came to Jerusalem around two years after Jesus was born, looking for the newborn king of the Jews.  In this story Jesus is revealed to be King of all people, even these Gentiles.

The first Sunday in Epiphany is a celebration of Jesus’ baptism.  When Jesus was baptized, the heavens opened and the voice of God declared Jesus to be His Son.  The Holy Spirit also descended upon Him in the form of a dove.  In this story, Jesus is revealed to be true God, and the triune nature of God is on full display.

The second Sunday in Epiphany is about Jesus’ first miracle at the wedding at Cana.  The newlywed couple runs out of wine, and so Jesus changes the water into wine, the best they have tasted.  In this story, Jesus’ power and authority are revealed, as well as His desire to bring joy and celebration to His people.

The season of Epiphany is like an accordion, squeezed between Christmas and Lent.  When Easter comes early, Lent starts early and Epiphany is shortened.  When Easter comes late, Lent starts later and Epiphany is lengthened.  When there are these extra weeks of Epiphany, the readings focus on stories of Jesus’ miraculous works and signs, where His divine nature is further revealed.

The final Sunday of Epiphany is always the Transfiguration.  Before Jesus begins His final journey to Jerusalem, His glory is revealed to Peter, James and John on the mountain and in the cloud of God’s presence.  Again, the voice from heaven declares Him to be God’s Son.

Epiphany is more than just a down time in between holidays.  It’s wondrous season where different aspects of Jesus’ nature are revealed to us week after week.  It’s like looking at a wonderful masterpiece of art.  You can study it over and over, and each time you see something different.

The most important thing to remember about Epiphany is what it means to you.  It’s not just that Jesus is God, but He is your God.  It’s not just that Jesus is Lord, but He is your Lord.  It’s not just that Jesus is true man, but He takes your humanity and unites it with His divinity.

As you listen to these wonderful gospel stories again this Epiphany, know that Jesus Christ does all these things for you, so that when He returns, His glory will be revealed in you, too.

 

Our Weekly Prayer 

Lord God, on this day You revealed Your Son to the nations by the leading of a star.  Lead us now by faith to know Your presence in our lives, and bring us at last to the full vision of Your glory, through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen