Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Epiphany--You Can't See Much in the Dark

Credit Peter Haden/flickr

Epiphany. What does it mean? It harks back to the story of the Wise Men that followed the star until they came to the manger. The old strange word means: manifestation. Something not known or unseen suddenly became real. So standing there in the starlight, in the drafty barn, those three well heeled Ones from another place were caught off-guard by the child in the manger. This, this was the Promised One? This infant—with smudges on his face—looking very much like his mother even then—this was what they had been traveling so far to see.

The old poet had it right:

“They all were looking for a king 
  To slay their foes and lift them high—
Their cams’t, a tiny, baby thing
  That made a woman cry.”

It means that the light really does shine in the darkness and the darkness cannot put it out. Light—just a tiny light so that we will not stumble or fall or break something. Just enough light to find the way.

Skeptics want us to show them. Proof. They want to see for themselves. Don’t we all! Another poet prayed:

“God, if you’re really God
 fling us a dipper full of stars.”  

 I’ve never seen that kind of dazzling light. It would be good if we all could.

John Bunyan, in Pilgrim’s Progress caught the Epiphany truth when the wandering Pilgrim was trying to find the way. The journey was scary and fraught with dangers and  obstacles seemingly impossible to overcome. Pilgrim cried out loud, “I’ve got this burden on my back and I don’t think I can make it.” Evangelist told him, “’Do you see yonder Wicket-gate?’ The man said, ‘“No’” Then said the other. ‘Do you see yonder shining light?’ He said, ‘I think I do.’ Then said Evangelist, ‘Keep that light in thine eye, and go directly thereto, so shalt thou see the gate...’”  

And that’s Epiphany. Like Pilgrim if we squint enough  we may just see that tiny light. It’s all we need to get through the darkness of this time and the darkness of our lives. Don’t let anyone fool you—the light is here. We are not alone. No wonder the Church year after year, decade after decade has taken these cold days after Christmas to remind us of the warmth of the shining light.

Credit SummerTX/flickr

rogerlovette / rogerlovette.blogspot.com

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