January 5, 2011
I hope everyone who reads this had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Tonight being Twelfth Night, the Feast of the Epiphany is much on my mind. In my previous parish we had a lovely evening service to celebrate it. Alexander and Joanna were both baptized at that service. Here we have found little or no energy for coming downtown for evening celebrations such as Epiphany, Ascension, Annunciation and so on. So we tend to mark things on Wednesdays when many have gathered anyway for various activities and classes. This will be the second year we have tried a celebration which is mostly aimed at telling the story of the magi with dance and song for our children, but open to everyone. The service is followed by a festive Wednesday Night Supper.
One of my assumptions about the stories of Jesus’ birth is that in spite of God being made manifest to the poor, marginalized and outcast in the form of shepherds and to the wise, the powerful, the seekers after truth and the nations that this birth in a stable in Bethlehem did not seem like a momentous event of great significance to most people in the moment. That leads me to wonder where I am being granted grace to see God made manifest.
I think about the couple who are the only people caring for an elderly relative in her final months, while still juggling two careers. I think about the man who seemed to be homeless who left a dollar in our crèche for Jesus while the church was being decorated this Christmas past. I think about the unprompted and uncensored genuine response of a child to a scene of great beauty. What these all have in common is that God is made manifest in generosity, self disclosure and self-giving. The practice of generosity is not necessarily liberating in itself, but it can lay the foundation for those marvelous moments of grace in which we are freed to be generous and find ourselves part of the mystery of incarnation ad God is made manifest both to and through us.
Happy Epiphany to one and all.