It’s time for an epiphany. Christmas continues right through January, with the 12th day of Christmas falling 5th January. Epiphany is on January 6th.
The word epiphany means “revelation”, “clarification”, “understanding”, “encounter” or “the day the penny dropped”. It is actually quite a hard word to translate from the original Greek but the experience of an epiphany is something we all know about. It is the moment when you have been looking at the bus timetable for a few minutes before you suddenly get what it is telling you. It is the time when you take a dictionary to research an unfamiliar word, or you are following a map, but don’t understand the detail it shows until you actually put boots on the ground. It is the experience of fog lifting form over the Mersey, receding tide, replacing the blown lightbulb, that time when something partly hidden is revealed in all its detail, when a story told by someone else is made your own for the first time, because you have seen it for yourself. It is a moment of apprehension mixed with relief, of joy and peace, of growing confidence.
The Epiphany celebrated in the church calendar is all about the growing understanding of who Jesus was to be, in his own community and across the world, for his own and every nation. The best known metaphor of this growing awareness is the journey of the Wise Men, however many of them there were. They left their comfortable home, undertook a long and hazardous journey, and eventually gathered in a humble stable way beyond their comfort zone, to meet a family who were seriously unprepared for celebrity guests. And why did they do all this? They were led by a star, behind whose brightness they detected God at work. None of us knows the events that await us, either personally or nationally, during the coming year, but a small dose of that same persistent faith and trust will stand us all in good stead as 2017 unfolds.
Happy New Year.