Today is the twelfth day of Christmas- ‘The Rules’ state that the Christmas tree must be down & away by today! Ours is still standing as I write. It always feels like a pleasure to decorate the house for Christmas, & such a chore to pack it all away again.
Today, is also known as Epiphany- when we celebrate the coming of the Wise Men to visit Jesus (Many very patient children across the globe don’t get their Christmas gifts until today!)
Epiphany also means a moment of sudden understanding or revelation-an intuitive grasp of reality through something simple,yet striking.
Many of our days consist of ordinary things- school runs, homeworks, dirty laundry, hoovering up Christmas’ aftermath, taking rubbish to the dump.
Christmas is a celebration of Jesus, God the Son, stepping down from heaven into our ordinariness. If, in our ordinary day-to day life, our hearts are grateful for God, & and all He has done, then our days will be punctuated by extraordinary God-moments, ‘everyday epiphanies’
‘Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world’
(Sarah Ban Breathnach)
In these ordinary moments we can communicate with God & listen for His gentle whispers:
‘Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God; but only he who sees, takes off his shoes. The rest sit round it & pluck blackberries’
(Elizabeth Barrett Browning)
God’s fingerprints are all around us, if we open the eyes of our hearts & really see. Some evenings the brushstrokes of our Creator are visible across the sky at sunset – displayed in orange brilliance. As the sun sinks in the West, the moon glows in the navy sky & stars appear one by one.
The night sky is as beautiful tonight as it was over two thousand years ago when those astronomers gazed at a new star. Those Magi followed the star to the One who scattered stars into space, yet became an ‘ordinary’ baby that we might have the sure hope of eternal life in His extraordinary heaven.
‘Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.’
Tonight, God doesn’t want wise men & women to follow the stars. Rather, He wants us to shine like stars in the universe (Phil 2:15)
To shine for Him.
To twinkle just where we are.
So that others might see the Light of the world in us & grasp His reality in their ordinary daily lives.
(Though our lives can never be truly ‘ordinary’ again, once we have been touched by the Star-Scatterer’s nail-scarred hands)
‘As with gladness, men of old
Did the guiding star behold
As with joy they hailed its light
Leading onward, beaming bright
So, most glorious Lord, may we
Evermore be led to Thee.‘
(William Dix 1867)
‘Look for Christ & you will find Him & with Him everything else’