Epiphany is a season of revelation, new understandings and new changes. It is a day and season that holds special meaning for me. One reason is the watchword each year for the day of Epiphany, “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you” from the prophet Isaiah 60:1. It is a word that invites us to pay attention to times of change and transition. This word came long ago to our Biblical ancestors who were coming home after years in exile. They are at a turning point and a new beginning. The community was invited to arise and be part of God’s work in rebuilding their home and relationships as a community. Children, youth, women and men were invited to live in the light of God’s compassion, justice, right and peace.
Another reason I find this season so meaningful is that January 6th is the day my father entered into the more immediate presence of our Lord. The day brings a mix of grief and gratitude for his life. As a family we read the watchword for Epiphany 15 years ago as we recognized the turning point my father met as God’s light and glory shone the way to eternal life. The Biblical text also spoke to the turning point the rest of us faced. Life was different now and home would not look the same, yet God’s light arrived again to get us on our feet and learn how to be a family in a new way. The light shines in our grief reminding us in life and death we belong to the Lord, which brings peace and gratitude.
Epiphany also holds special meaning this year. We are at a turning point as we bid farewell to a very challenging year and look with hope to what 2021 may bring. There is grief and loss but a conviction that those who have died are not lost to us or to God. There is hopeful news in vaccines to diminish the strength of this virus in the months to come. There is in view life beyond the pandemic and work is needed for rebuilding relationships, economies, and community as we move forward. In this time of transition, we ground ourselves in Epiphany and seek out God. The scriptures and songs of this season reveal new insights on who we are called to be as Christ’s followers and how we can live well in just relationships with each other. Challenges still are real, yet we root ourselves in God’s light that is shining in midst of grief and hurt. We align ourselves with Christ’s work of comfort and rebuilding. The Spirit of God is rising again and we arise and shine by sharing resources to meet need, working for justice in our larger communities, and to live as a community of care and Christian love to one another.
People of God arise and shine yet again for the glory of God is rising upon you! Thank you for being bright lights of faithfulness, love and hope this past year and as we move into 2021!