One of the most depressing times of the year, for me, is the weeks that follow after Christmas. The decorations in the house come down. The lights in the neighborhood are turned off and put away. There is no big day to look forward to being with loved ones and friends. And there is still several more weeks of long nights and dreary days before spring arrives. I think we all suffer from some level of seasonal affective disorder when the absence of daylight saps our energy and brings down our mood.
The Christian Year includes a time known as “Epiphany” or rather, the “Sunday’s following Epiphany”. We are in this season now and it extends until the beginning of Lent. The word “Epiphany” means “manifestation” or “sudden appearance.” We often use the word to describe a new insight or discovery, a scientific breakthrough or the introduction of a new insight or idea. The word came to be associated with the visit of the magi described in Matthew 2:1-11. When these foreign travelers came to visit the Christ child, the divinity of Jesus Christ was revealed to the world outside of the people of Israel. The nature of Jesus Christ was revealed and made manifest.
As those who follow Christ today, this is the perfect time of year to consider what it means to make Jesus Christ’s identity and purpose known to others. This is a perfect time to let hope be revealed to others. It’s a perfect time to let our “light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14). It’s a time to show that love and kindness and concern for others is how we live out our faith in our daily life throughout the whole year. It is a time for others to see in us that we live with the hope that God has planted in us, even though there may be set backs and disappointments we all face. We can keep our eyes on Jesus and find that he is the way, the truth and the life.
Rev. Steve Larsen