Many of our living rooms are cleared of decorated trees, and advent candles have long been blown out. Maybe you’re like me, and Christmas goodies have been put away to make room for workout goals and “no-sugar January.”
Yet this week marked the end of the true Twelve Days of Christmas—the time between the birth of Christ and the arrival of the Magi to visit the newborn King. As many of us have celebrated the Advent season, the four weeks leading up to Christmas Day, very few of us know about the 12 days following December 25th or the Feast of the Epiphany.
Why? I’m always in a rush.
Far too often, I’m in a rush. I’ve already rushed off from the holidays, filled with time-slowing moments with family and friends, and back into my normal rhythms. This week, it looks like workdays where my fingers are trying to keep up with my thoughts. After hours are filled with a spiritual learning community, helping paint a friend’s baseboard trim, and working out (or trying to remember…). I’ve already forgotten to call my parents and respond to group texts, and I’m beginning to fill next week’s nights. Also, I’m trying this new thing called “meal planning.” I switch car lanes to get home faster, and I do self-checkout, so I don’t have to wait at the store. Email notifications roll in at all hours, and stores send me text messages letting me know they’re having a sale …on their sale.
They call my generation, Millennials, over-stimulated, over-marketed, and burnt out—and I only turned 29 two weeks ago.
So, what does this have to do with the Twelve Days of Christmas?
A week into the new year, I already feel like I need an “epiphany” moment. The Feast of the Epiphany celebrates the manifestation of Christ to the Wise Men—that Jesus, who had been born, was indeed the Son of God. The Epiphany recognizes and remembers that Gentiles, men who practiced and believed in sorcery and the stars’ power, were among the first to see Jesus and worship him. They weren’t perfect disciples or religious echelons. The Savior and King, promised long ago, was finally here, and the Magi recognized something different about Him. They laid before the newborn King the best of what their countries had to offer, gold, frankincense, and myrrh, to a poor, young, and soon-to-become refugee family. What does this say about Jesus? A lot.
In my rush to get back to my rhythms, I’ve forgotten the rest of the Jesus story and the ways Jesus reveals Himself to us through His life. From His refugeehood and escape from genocide as a baby to working in the family business of carpentry. He most likely mourned His father Joseph’s death, and most certainly, His close cousin John’s. He grew close with a group of unlikely men on society’s fringes, and He called them friends. He regularly hung out with the sick, the poor, and those who society told Him not to—women, prostitutes, embezzlers, terrorists.
I have a hard time lingering in the story of Jesus. It’s only 12 days after Christmas, and I’ve rushed myself away from the rest of who Jesus was and is. I need another epiphany.
What’s your epiphany going to be?
Maybe for you, it’s not that you’re in a rush like me. Perhaps it’s distractions, fears, or being tired. Distracted by all the other things that vie for your attention, fears of what’s next or how things will turn out, tired of waiting for promises to be fulfilled.
So, what’s your epiphany going to be? What is it about Christ that you can celebrate, even feast, in how he reveals himself to you? Or are there things about Jesus’ story you’ve (dare we say it) grown tired of or have forgotten?
My tree is put away, and my grocery list contains no added sugars. But today, I’m going to pause and feast in my epiphany—the Epiphany—that Christ, the newborn King, has revealed Himself to us. And for the next 70+ years of my life, King Jesus will reveal Himself even in my rush, distraction, fears, and weariness. Constant epiphanies over a lifetime, I think that’s the key to how I make it to my golden years without being over-stimulated, over-marketed, and burnt out.
This is my prayer for me, for you, and for us this new year:
“May you see where God is filling, empowering, inspiring, and inviting,
and not just where the world is stealing, throbbing, taunting, and destroying;
that this new year would bring with it new hope,
like God’s graces in the morning, towing you into the waters of New Life.”
– Commoners Communion