Pastor’s ponderings

Today, January 6th, marks the celebration of the day of Epiphany.  Traditionally this is the day which recognizes the wise men’s (or three kings’) arrival to see the newborn Jesus, hence why some traditions call it Three Kings Day. Now, there is a lot of debate of when this event actually occurred, but that is not nearly as important as to why these travelers from afar, followed that bright star and ventured from their lands to see him.  You see, the ancient Greek word used here means to “reveal,” to have something made known.  Today we might consider it a revelation or the receiving of some great insight.  For the wise men it was the revelation of who Jesus is, the manifestation of the divine, God incarnate, Emmanuel, God with us.

            Yet, here’s what often adds to confusion surrounding this celebration. In the Christian calendar, the first Sunday after Epiphany is “Baptism of the Lord Sunday,” the day we recall Jesus’ baptism by John in the Jordan River some thirty years after his birth, the day in which we remember the divine voice proclaim, “This is my Son, the Beloved…” (Matt 3:17, NRSV).  In a short period of time we are called upon to recognize two significant events.  This year, these are but two days apart; in just two days we jump nearly three decades in time.  And, of course, I can’t help but to wonder:  How was it that the wise men knew a short time after Jesus’ birth that there was something special about him?  Why did it take nearly thirty years for God to publicly declare Jesus as “my Son,” so that everyone else knew what the wise men already understood?  How do we, in our modern faith, reconcile these occurrences?

            In my years of ministry one thing is abundantly clear – we are all at various points in our faith journey; we all have different levels of understanding as to who Jesus is and what a relationship with him means in our life.  For some, we have only just begun to walk with him, and it may have taken years, if not decades, to get us to that point; it may have taken thirty years to understand the declaration of Jesus as being the Son of God. For others, we have been going along The Way for most of our lives, having come into a relationship with Christ early on, seemingly from the moment of our birth (or his birth in our hearts).  Yet, the timeframe in which this occurs doesn’t really matter, just that it does occur.  To be a Christian is to have an epiphany, a realization that Jesus is something more than just another man, but the very Son whom God sent for us, to redeem us, to save us.

            So perhaps this Epiphany season, this should be our continued focus – do we fully accept Jesus for who he truly is, and promise to be in relationship with him always, going wherever he leads?

Pastor Steve

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