An Epiphany Moment

08/01/24An Epiphany Moment

Happy New Year! The twelfth night is the time when traditionally, Christmas is over, the decorations are down and the New Year has truly set in. The twelfth night always falls on 6 January, or ‘Epiphany’.

Epiphany is the celebration in the church year when wise men, or ‘Magi’ from the East followed the star to the place where Jesus was and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

I wonder what is the strangest Christmas gift that you have ever given or received? A typical gift for a new baby might be clothes, a blanket, a teddy… but gold, frankincense and myrrh? These would have been incredibly valuable gifts, probably worth thousands of pounds… very strange gifts indeed! However, when we dig a little deeper, we realise that these non-Jewish magi recognised who Jesus really was and the significance of their gifts was mind-blowing! Gold was a gift for a King and Jesus came as the King of all kings (Rev 17:14). Frankincense is a gift for a priest, representing our prayers spiralling up to heaven; Jesus is our great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14). Myrrh was an expensive ointment used when burying the dead… Jesus was born to die that we might live! (1 Tim 1:15)

The magi’s journey reminds me that we are all on a journey of faith and my own journey, seeking to find the truth, resulted in an epiphany moment! I realised that Jesus was absolutely real and present, that he could forgive my past and that he loved me just as I was. We don’t need to bring him extravagant gifts, just daily yield to his perfect plan for our lives.

No one knows what 2024 will bring, but the words of the famous poem by Minnie Haskins ‘Gate of the Year’ sums it up so well…

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
"Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown".
And he replied: "Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way".
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

As you journey into 2024, may God bless you with many Epiphany moments as you continue to seek, to discover, to learn and to love and may we too recognise the incredible significance of the greatest gift of all!