Christmas is still here for five more days, but another season is already drawing close. The season of Epiphany follows Christmas because the first Epiphany was caused by the first Christmas. We read in the Gospel of Matthew that the birth of Jesus sent a signal out to the nations that a new king had been born. Matthew writes, “In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” The wise men do not find little baby Jesus lying in a manger. In fact, they find him inside a house (Matthew 2:11). They discover a child, probably between the ages of 6 months and two years old. What happens next is astonishing. These very wealthy wise men, who represent all the other nations of the world, bow down and worship the child Jesus as a king, as their king. This is the fulfillment of what Simeon prophesied over Jesus after his birth: “For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior, whom you have prepared for all the world to see: A Light to enlighten the nations, and the glory of your people Israel.” Jesus is not just the King of Israel; He is the Light of the whole world. Jesus was sent to people of every ethnicity, race, and culture.
As a sign of this deep truth, Christians have gathered on Epiphany to light huge bonfires as a sign that Jesus, the Light, has come to light up the world. On Saturday, January 6th we will gather with our Christmas trees for a short service and a huge bonfire to celebrate the light that has been revealed to the nations.
But this year we will be doing something else as well. Our church, the Anglican Church in North America, will all be reading the book Gracism by Dr. David A. Anderson. This book is all about how God is the God of all peoples, and how the Church must be a Church for all peoples. It is deeply practical and relevant for us in our context. We will be reading and discussing this book on Sunday mornings, starting January 14th, from 8:30–9:30 am in the Parish Hall. We will have fresh-baked bagels from Empire Bagel and plenty of Grassroots coffee to drink. I will be co-leading the discussion of the book with our very own Katie Chastain. Childcare will also be provided. I hope you join us as we explore the full meaning of Epiphany.
I encourage and invite you to have an Epiphany this year. See the God who has been revealed to all the nations of the earth in the person of Jesus Christ. See all those of other races through the lens of God’s grace.