January is what it is in Wisconsin…generally cold and dark. Even those of us who cherish the change of seasons are eager to see the days grow warmer and longer.
Here in the cold and dark of winter we mark the ancient and time-honored season of Epiphany. There is something in this season of Epiphany that warms us up and brightens our gloomy hearts.
The word “epiphany” means to show forth, to be revealed. Christ is shown forth to the Wise Men as not just a Child but as God Himself in the flesh, worthy of their worship.
Christ reveals Himself at His baptism on the Jordan as the One in whom the Father is well-pleased.
He manifests His glory at a young couple’s wedding in Cana of Galilee when, as the poet put it, “the conscious water saw its God and blushed” into wine.
He draws back the curtain on the Mount of Transfiguration and gives us a blinding glimpse of His glory as God Himself. It warms us up to know that this God is also our Brother.
Epiphany is also a light in the night. “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you,” says the prophet Isaiah. “See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and His glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.”
Epiphany is about making God’s ways known on earth, His salvation among all nations,” said the psalmist. Epiphany has the thread of mission work woven through it. The good news brightens the gloomy heart of a woman at Jacob’s Well who thought to satisfy her soul’s thirst with the salt water of one sinful relationship after another.
The gospel brightens your gloomy heart and mine too. This is why Christ comes to us in the word, the water and the blood. What an epiphany! Here in the cold and dark of winter, doesn’t this warm us up and brighten our gloomy hearts?