December 26, 2018
Song of Solomon 2:10-13
“My beloved speaks and says to me: ‘Arise my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise my love, my fair one, and come away.’”
Today continues the season of what’s known in the liturgical calendar as Christmastide (this is the “second day of Christmas”). This short period moves us on through the new year and on to Epiphany on January 6th. Epiphany essentially means “manifestation.” When the ineffable is made tangible, we call that a manifestation. What previously proved elusive is suddenly brought close. We often equate an epiphany with a sudden flash of insight, but that understanding misses the tangible nature of a genuine epiphany. We experience an epiphany, not only when we see things from a fresh perspective, but when we physically behold a reality that wasn’t there just a moment ago.
We have just come through the longer season of Advent, which is a season of waiting and anticipation. With the physical birth of Jesus, we transition now into a posture of beholding. The wait is over. In the bleakness of winter we look upon the One who is the hope of all nations. The birth of Jesus transforms reality from the inside out. Our long nights of grief are given a sense of meaning. Our losses are not undone, but begin to be seen as instruments of redemption that have hewn away our pride, and created space for compassion. With the arrival of Jesus, none of our circumstances are structurally altered, yet all things are now permeated by a primal light, and the shattered fragments have been brought back together. Jesus may not give us all of the answers, but he meets a deeper need by giving us a way to live in the face of uncertainty.
In this sense, Epiphany is not so much a season as it is a person. Jesus is the Epiphany. He is not the revealer. He is the revelation itself. In the lowliness of his birth, and in the radical submission of his ministry, Jesus makes manifest the character of God. He is the radiant, once and for all reminder of God’s unswerving commitment to His creation, and he gives us hope enough to be holy.
Thank you Father for hearing the deepest cry of our heart, and for responding by sending Jesus into our midst.
- Can you hear the voice of the Beloved calling out to you in your darkness? What is He saying?
- What do the lowly conditions of Jesus’ birth reveal to you about his willingness to meet you where you are?