The Pastor's Page
In the Book of Genesis, we hear these dramatic words from God, ‘Let there be light.’ In John’s gospel, Jesus describes himself with these equally profound words, ‘I am the light of the world.’ At Christmas, we remember and celebrate that Jesus… who was born in the darkness of night in an animal shed… is the light of and for the world.
The twelve days of Christmas end on January 6th, and flow into the seven-week Season of Epiphany…the season of light! Epiphany is from a Greek word that means ‘to show forth’. So the readings focus on “showing forth”…or shining a light on…the newborn Christ as “God in the flesh.” The season begins and ends with three major events when Jesus’s identity and mission were made known to all people.
First, we celebrate the arrival of the Magi to visit the young child Jesus. These are believed to have been astronomers from Persia; they noticed the appearance of an unusual star and followed it, believing it would lead them to a new king. They traveled a long distance and were willing to make sacrifices. Our lives are also journeys. What do we seek? Whom do we seek? And what sacrifices are we willing to make? Will we seek God with all our hearts?
Next, we celebrate the baptism of the adult Jesus. When Jesus rose up out of the water of the Jordan River, the Holy Spirit descended on him in the form of a dove, and the voice of God could be heard saying, “You are my Son, the Beloved.” This event gave people a glimpse of Jesus’ true identity…just as in our baptism our ‘true identity’ as children of God is revealed.
On the last Sunday in Epiphany (Feb. 23) we celebrate the Transfiguration. During this event near the end of Jesus’ ministry, Jesus went up to a high mountain with his closest disciples. A bright light filled Jesus, and the prophets Moses and Elijah appeared with him. Again, God’s voice boomed out: “This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him!”
Between those events, we join the disciples in hearing and responding to God’s call to mission, and listening to Jesus “Sermon on the Mount”… where we gain a sense of the distinct shape and character of the kingdom that Jesus comes to establish.
Christmas begins in a manger…but we cannot stay there. Like the shepherds and the magi, we too are called to move away and take the light of Jesus with us. We are asked not only to admire the light, but to be people of light. As Jesus himself tells us, you are the light of the world and your light must shine.’
The light of Epiphany is given to us as a gift, but we cannot keep it to or for ourselves. When two disciples ask Jesus where he is going, he replies, “Come and see.” What do you see? Do you see the star shining over the place where Jesus was born? Do you see the star leading wise people to seek Christ as the lord of their lives? Are you compelled to “Let your light shine that others might be able to see the light as well?”
Let your light of invitation shine—invite someone to worship. Invite your light of compassion to shine—help out a neighbor. Let your light of forgiveness shine—make amends with someone who has wronged you. Let you light of generosity shine—give of your time and talents so that others may know the way.
May Christ the Light and the Light of Christ fill all our homes, families and our church community this day and always.
Yours in Light and Love,